What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us
COVID-19

Meditation apps have been booming during the pandemic

Kristin Schwab Nov 6, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Trying to keep calm during these stressful times? You're not alone. FatCamera via Getty Images
COVID-19

Meditation apps have been booming during the pandemic

Kristin Schwab Nov 6, 2020
Trying to keep calm during these stressful times? You're not alone. FatCamera via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Feeling a little anxious these days? Perhaps anxious about much of the uncertainty we’ve been talking about for the last several months?

Well, people are finding their own ways of dealing with the stress. One is mental health and meditations apps, an industry that’s projected to be worth $2 billion by 2022.

Chelsea Harley’s mind is running laps.

“Between the elections happening right now, race wars and police brutality, it’s so chaotic,” she said.

Harley, 24, lives in Atlanta. A couple weeks ago, she downloaded the meditation app Calm. “It’s like a sigh of relief,” Harley said, sighing. “You know what I mean? It brings a point of peace.”

One of her favorite features is the celebrity-led meditations. Scottie Pippen talks you through his basketball journey. Lucy Liu reads you a story. And Matthew McConaughey puts you to sleep.

A Calm subscription costs $69.99 a year, and the app’s been downloaded 80 million times. It jumped to the top of Apple’s Health and Fitness category right after Election Day. Other apps like Headspace, Reflectly and Sleepiest aren’t far behind.

“If there’s one thing these simple practices can do, they can train attention,” said Richard Davidson, founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He said they can also help with loneliness, depression and anxiety — all made worse by the pandemic. 

Anindya Ghose, professor of information, operations and management sciences at NYU Stern, said poor access to health care and higher smartphone penetration has made health the fastest-growing app category. And it’s trending away from fitness and nutrition and toward mindfulness. Plus, these interactive apps are getting better.

“The features that were available in mobile apps five years back are a lot more rudimentary compared to what we have now,” he said.

Because when you boil it down, these companies aren’t just app makers. They’re content creators.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What are the details of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan?

The $1.9 trillion plan would aim to speed up the vaccine rollout and provide financial help to individuals, states and local governments and businesses. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, while advancing his objective of reopening most schools by the spring. It would also include $1,400 checks for most Americans. Get the rest of the specifics here.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

Read More

Collapse

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.