The number of applications to increase awareness increases exponentially. Can these applications replace meditation and therapy classes with specialists? Everyone who downloads them believes that right at that moment a more harmonious life begins. But is this really so?
To find the answer to this question, scientists began to conduct research about four years ago when awareness-raising applications just started appearing on the App Store and Google Play. The research results vary, but many of them have found a certain effectiveness of applications for human consciousness.
One of the most popular applications for meditation and stress relief is
. It is positioned as a full awareness coach right in your pocket. A paid subscription allows you to not only meditate, but also to instill good habits, monitor sleep and perform creative exercises. Since the launch of Headspace in 2012, it has been downloaded by more than 20 million people from 190 countries (and this is almost the whole world). The audio recordings in the application were voiced by the founder himself - the former Buddhist monk Andy Puddikombe.
In March 2018, American scientists conducted a experiment with 70 adult Headspace users. At the beginning of the experiment, all participants talked about their positive and negative feelings, stress and irritability over the past week. Then, for a month, half of the participants did meditation and exercises through the app, and the second half simply listened to Puddikombe's audio books of awareness without any specific practice. A survey at the end of the experiment showed that people who worked on the application felt better. They have become easier to handle stressful situations at work and in life.
These changes occurred in about 100 minutes of practice. Reading specialized literature does not have the same effect as regular practice.
Stress is a big problem in modern society, which in the long term can negatively affect health. In another
, scientists studied important aspects of mindfulness. They selected 153 people for 20-minute daily practices using the app and divided them into three groups.
The first group practiced mental control - the ability to distinguish their own emotions. The second group learned to accept their own thoughts. The third learned to see positive things in negative situations. Before the start of the experiment, scientists measured the indicators of cortisol (stress hormone) in the blood of participants. All three groups practiced every day - and two weeks later took part in another experiment: each person should give a five-minute speech to strangers and then solve a mathematical problem.
After that, each participant in the experiment once again checked the level of cortisol. The results were impressive: even after stressful situations, the vast majority of participants showed a significantly lower level of stress than at the beginning of the experiment.
2017 American scientists compared the effect of the usual class of meditation with the teacher and the session through the application. For four weeks, half of the participants studied through Headspace, and the second time a week attended personal meditation lessons. According to the results of the experiment, users of the application felt less fatigue and burnout from work compared to the second half of the subjects.