When 996 and internal scrolling become the norm, will meditation be the “spiritual pill” for workers? |Tomorrow’s Wave

Imagine you are sitting by a road. Your task is to sit there and watch the cars go fast. The cars are your thoughts. It sounds simple right? But we often feel uneasy because of the traffic, so we will run out to suspend some cars or even chase some cars, forgetting that our task is just sitting there.

Netflix's "Meditation and Mindfulness Guide" uses this metaphor to tell us what "meditation" is.

This is really difficult to do. Imagine the last time you focused on breathing quietly, without looking at your phone or other screen, or thinking about anything. When was it?

▲ Picture from: Headspace

And nowadays when attention is extremely scarce, many meditation apps want to use your fragmented time digitally to help you focus on the present.

Meditation is not so magical, it is just a type of spiritual consumption. If you need it, it will be used as a portable space interspersed in the cracks of life, and you will get used to coexisting with it in a more attractive form. We can all try to enter meditation on the subway, while brushing our teeth, and during lunch breaks. It may happen at all times, anytime, anywhere, open arms to everyone.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Meditation, everywhere, anytime, anywhere

If you have been exposed to meditation, you should have heard key words such as mindfulness, meditation, and kabajin. In fact, we only need to know that the industry regards meditation more as a way of "exploring and training the brain", emphasizing "awareness of the present without being critical and conscious."

Friends, do you have trouble sleeping, stressed, or nervous, maybe open the meditation app and try it?

Headspace, founded in 2010, and Calm, two years younger than it, are the two biggest "unicorns" in the online meditation market in the United States. Between 2015 and 2019, they were consistently ranked in the Top 10 meditation apps, adding 24 million and 13 million new users in 2019, respectively.

▲ Picture from: Sensortower

Entering the Headspace, you should be impressed by its design, bright and gentle colors rushing over your face, the round cartoon image "participates" in all training content; at the same time, Headspace has carefully designed a reward mechanism, which provides Various branch tasks make us feel our own progress at any time, as if we are in an RPG game, so we are attracted to continue to explore.

▲ Picture from: Headspace

The "Meditation and Mindfulness Guide" mentioned at the beginning was launched by Headspace. The narration was completed by the former Buddhist monk and one of the founders Andy Puddicombe. Headspace has produced videos, articles, and podcasts on multiple platforms such as YouTube and Netflix. This is their best marketing strategy. Andy's low tone is also very easy to get people into the atmosphere he creates.

▲ Headspace "Meditation and Mindfulness Guide". Picture from: Douban

Calm has created the "Bedtime Story" function. The length of each story ranges from 10 to 30 minutes. The master of reading will accompany you every sleepy or sleepless night. The Wall Street Journal has reported that about half of Calm users mainly use it as a sleep app rather than a meditation app.

▲ Calm.

In contrast, the domestic meditation market is still in its infancy. Most meditation applications were born after 2016, but fresh blood appears from time to time. Brands created this year include Heartly Lab and FLOW meditation.

They also want to break the stereotype of meditation, lower the threshold for experiencing meditation, and make meditation a "practice in life", so that users are motivated and interested to continue.

▲ Tide.

"Tide" combines meditation with current life scenes and fragmented time in the app, allowing users to participate in meditation practice in daily states such as masks, lunch breaks, morning exercises, etc.; "Flow Meditation" builds a sharing community to encourage Users share meditation experiences and gains in the form of meditation experience logs and other forms.

The founder of Tide, Lang Qixu, told Ai Faner:

Meditation content combined with life scenes, we will call them "moments", hoping to allow more people to start meditation anytime and anywhere, and let meditation have a relationship with their lives. We don't want to express meditation as an empty concept or traditional curriculum, but make it into a perceptible design and experience, combined with life scenes such as brushing teeth and commuting, and users can use it anytime, anywhere.

▲ Picture from: lululemon

In addition to the meditation applications of "specializing in the arts", there are also many consumer brands in other fields that encourage us to use meditation as a lifestyle habit.

Yoga clothing brand lululemon launched the online live broadcast of "Dialogue · Practice Good Condition" on October 9 this year. Brand ambassador Lu Jingshan led the audience to complete a yoga meditation exercise online for the first time; as early as October 2019, lululemon announced and interactive home The fitness system Mirror cooperates to provide Lululemon interactive meditation courses through Mirror.

▲ Mirror.

The "Mindfulness" app on Apple Watch reminds users to set aside a few minutes a day to focus on breathing and connecting the body and mind. Several colleagues who have been in contact with me or are already familiar with meditation are all using this feature.

Meditation is not something that can be done overnight. Like other skills, it requires practice and repetition. This often requires the cooperation of personal will and external tools. Meditation applications are also happy to take on this responsibility. Most meditation apps are subscription-based, open some free content, and you need to pay to unlock all of them.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Some people have always used meditation apps as reminders, and some have found their own rhythm. A Reddit netizen shared his experience:

In the past, following procedural and structured guidance has allowed me to easily enter meditation. Now I like to use the meditation app as a timer for setting intervals and use it for unguided open meditation. For me, it is much easier to commit to only sitting for a long time than a fixed time. I can manually add meditation to the calendar. If we want to indulge in mobile phones, we can use it to train some useful skills.

Meditation, a new space connecting contemporary people

Perhaps your most curious question is still: "Well, I will try it, but what exactly can meditation bring?"

Meditation originated from religion, but compared to the birthplace of Zen, modern Western society seems to favor this sport. In the United States, meditation has experienced the popularity of counter-cultural movements, the prosperity of the Silicon Valley lifestyle, Hollywood and Wall Street, and finally took the mobile Internet wave and appeared digitally. Mindfulness is regarded as the mainstream branch of meditation. It has certain clinical research and scientific evidence, and is the theoretical root of many meditation products.

Looking at the entrepreneurial stories of various meditation applications, one can find a very interesting point-many founders have experienced a huge stressful moment, and then broke free for various reasons, recalling that they had been exposed to meditation in the past, and decided to embark on meditation thereafter. The journey of life will illuminate the hearts of more people.

▲ Founder of Calm. Picture from: Calm

The founder of Tide, Lang Qixu, suffered from anxiety, stress and severe insomnia during his entrepreneurial process. At that time, he was re-exposed to mindfulness meditation and decided to build a meditation product downstream; the founding team members of Heartly Lab have served as the most rhythmic Internet companies. Quick post; Calm co-founder Michael Acton Smith founded a game brand, always holding his mobile phone to sleep, until one day he found himself on the verge of collapse.

They probably all realize that they need to be free from high pressure and have a "space" to think about the current state and future direction.

▲ Picture from: Calm

The tide is a domestic brand that clearly applies the concept of "space" to meditation products. In their view, space has two meanings.

The first is to construct a "mind space." Han Bingzhe wrote in "Burnout Society": "People should learn not to react immediately when stimulated, but to have the instinct to stop and isolate… to react immediately and respond to every stimulus. A stimulus is already a disease, a regression, and a sign of fatigue and exhaustion."

What Ming wants to do is to put a distance between "stimulation" and "response", so that you have a small pause button and ask yourself "what am I doing?" instead of subconsciously after getting angry. You don’t have to impulsively place an order that you don’t need.

Secondly, space can also refer to the carrier of meditation. The carrier is not just a personalized terminal, it has to be connected to more people, platforms and scenes.

In cooperation with Weilai Automobile, Chaoshi jointly created the first immersive vehicle-mounted physical and mental relaxation space. When the car is no longer just a car, but is given more spatial attributes in addition to the tool attributes, it may become a mobile meditation room.

▲ Picture from: Tide

The business "Headspace for work" launched by Headspace provides mindfulness and meditation products and services to more than 600 corporate companies including Adobe, General Electric, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Starbucks; it also cooperates with multiple professional sports leagues for Athletes from NBA, American Football Association, and Major League Soccer provide meditation psychological training.

▲ Picture from: Brand Planet

At the end of 2018, Calm invested US$3 million in airport spa chain XPresSpa; in addition, Calm cooperated with American Airlines to broadcast soothing videos on all seat back screens, serving more than 200 million passengers on average each year.

We may often miss our childhood. At that time, we did not have so many thoughts. We only needed to focus on simple things and reap the joy of peace. Tao Yuanming said, "After being in the cage for a long time, we will return to nature." But we can't do Tao Yuanming after all, nor can we return to our childhood past.

It is precisely because we are physically in the "cage" that we cannot break free for a long time, that highlights the importance of "temporarily returning to nature" and realizes how much we need space to calm ourselves down. But this kind of thinking is more or less pessimistic.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

And Lang Qixu believes that what meditation does is to "awaken" and to return to the state of being human. "We naturally like to be close to nature. If we are at the beach, we don’t need to care about what meditation is, and we relax naturally. We hope to be in the city, In the digital world, such a space is also created so that users can feel it when they click in."

In an increasingly digital life, what we can do is to adapt to local conditions, find a better way to get along with technology, and re-establish a connection with ourselves inwardly.

Heal the spirit, not just meditation

However, meditation is still in the early stage of development in China, and it is in a state of slowly rising.

"China Business News" once reported that when it decided to start "Now Meditation" in 2016, the founder Li Lepeng was very optimistic about the meditation market, but it wasn't until 2018 that the company was slightly profitable. According to "Now Meditation" statistics, 14% of the population in the United States regards meditation as a lifestyle habit, but in China, this number may not exceed 1%.

▲ Picture from: Tide

Meditation, as an auxiliary and alternative form of medical care, can be classified as "pan mental health", which also includes areas such as sleep, physical fitness, and psychological counseling.

In an interview with Brand Planet, Heartly Lab pointed out that 300 million people in China have sleep problems, the growth rate of the demand for psychological counseling in second-tier cities is 28%-39%, and the overall market for yoga has increased by more than 30% in the past 4 years.

▲ Picture from: "Chasing Sleep"

In the mental health market like a vast ocean, meditation is just a scoop of water. But like other sub-fields, it is driven by the force of "mental upgrading."

Meditation brands are also aware of this. Chao Shi conducted a wide range of in-depth user interviews at the end of last year, dividing user needs into two parts: the surface layer and the deep layer:

Surface needs such as high pressure, strong anxiety, and poor sleep are the most direct motives for action, while deep needs are due to a major change in the entire social stage, especially the rhythm and situation of young people-they face the entire work style and The transformation of the social context has a lack of sense of value, and the connection with others in urban life is not as good as before. As a result, more and more attention is paid to, understood and open to spiritual needs.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Lang Qixu believes that when the possibility of outward exploration is narrowed, young people’s inward exploration and spiritual exploration will require more and more satisfaction, "I believe that whether it is a product like ours or more about self-exploration There will be more and more other contents of the ”. This is a change that can be clearly perceived.”

Therefore, we can see that the various industries of meditation, fitness, sleep, and psychological counseling are intertwined and prosper together. All kinds of people choose their favorite "spiritual pills" to swallow them with their necks up to comfort their current living conditions. Or as Lang Qixu said, arranging flowers, practicing Tai Chi, and writing calligraphy may have similar effects.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

Jian Lili, founder of Simple Psychology, said in an interview with Ai Faner:

Whether it is meditation, yoga or psychological counseling, they are actually tools to help us self-aware and regulate our emotions. It is important to find the one that suits us. Self-awareness itself can happen anytime and anywhere. When our ability to self-aware is improved, we can better understand ourselves and cope with life. Not everyone needs practice in this form of meditation, and some people already have the ability to live in the present.

▲ Picture from: Headspace

The important thing is to live with the world in your heart. Sometimes, we may take a moment to think about what is the first thing we do every day and what is the last thing, contemplating our body and mind, and coexisting peacefully with this era of extremely advanced material and technology.

Grapes are not the only fruit.

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