Can Headspace help me cope with depression?

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Page last updated: 26/10/2022

Can Headspace help me cope with depression?

This article will discuss if the app Headspace can help a person dealing with depression. It will show how the app works, and how you can use it to get better.

Can Headspace help me cope with depression?

Yes, it is possible that using the meditation app Headspace can help you feel better when you are dealing with depression. It seems that the use of Headspace can improve the condition of people with mild cases of depression that are not in clinical treatment. 

As for people with a more severe case of depression that are in treatment, a study published in 2021 showed that there is a huge benefit of the joint use of Headspace and clinical treatment for people dealing with depression.

This research was done with 54 participants that had gone through this intervention for 6 months. After this time, 44% of the participants went through at least 80% of their Headspace sessions, and 72,2% went to 3 or more of their clinical sessions.

In the end, it was discovered that the more the participants had the Headspace session, the better improvement of their depressive symptoms, which became less intense. 

The joint treatment of clinical sessions and Headspace sessions was discovered to be, by the end of the research, the first-line treatment for people with moderate, and moderate-severe depression. 

This shows how the use of Headspace has been scientifically proven to help people with depression. So let’s understand a little more about how the app works before we discuss the known benefits it has.

What is Headspace? 

Headspace is an app created in 2010 by a Buddhist monk that turned into a party planner. He developed the app as a way to make meditation available to people anytime, and anywhere they wished it to be. 

At first, the app was only made for meditation, but now they have many animations and articles about mental health and ways to improve your overall sense of well-being. By 2020 the app had been downloaded more than 60 million times and had more than 2 million subscribers.

Once you decide to download the app, you can use it in the free mode, or pay for it. As you subscribe, each month will cost you $12,99 or you can do a premium account that will go on for a year, which will be $69,99. 

The difference between the free and premium accounts is that when you pay you have a bigger range of meditations available. With the free account, you will only have a few options. It is important to highlight that Headspace users can also create a student or family account if they desire to. 

The app is extremely easy to use and will offer you, as said, a wide range of meditations for people that are beginners, and for the more trained ones. In your account, you can also create your own meditation goals, and keep track of how you improve towards them.

Aside from a wide range of difficulties, in this app meditations also vary in length, and you can find one that fits the situation you are in. Aside from that, you can choose if you want to do a meditation that you are guided, semi-guided, or not guided at all. And you can choose if the guide will speak in a male or female voice.

Can Headspace help me cope with depression?

What are the benefits of meditation apps when dealing with depression?

Meditation has often been suggested as an alternative coping strategy for depression. People have found it to be extremely helpful in calming themselves down, by changing how their brain reacts to stress and anxiety. But there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on that matter.

Nowadays, there has been a rush of new meditation apps on our smartphones, and people are wondering what are the real benefits of it, so researchers like the one previously presented pave the way for people to trust and use, more and more, Headspace and other mediation apps to cope with depression.

Some studies have shown that a form of intervention called Mindfulness-Based Intervention (MBIs) which teaches the person how to apply mindfulness to their everyday life can have a positive effect on people with depression, making their symptoms less intense.

That is because the main concept of mindfulness is to try and make the person focus on the present moment, and accept what is happening without any sort of judgment. As this Intervention was created, it was done in a group context, and after they do their mindfulness practice, they would share their experiences. 

And now, since everyone seems to have a meditation guide on their phone, using apps such as Headspace allows people to meditate anywhere they want, and whenever they feel the need for it. Although there were still some questions about how effective meditation on Headspace would be to help people with depression. 

That is because in the Mindfulness-Based Intervention the meditation part would last around 40 minutes, but in Headspace, they will usually go on for around 10 minutes. 

But as proven by the first research, it seems that the length of the meditation doesn’t lead to a lot of changes in the outcome, and people using Headspace, even if they meditate for less time, can experience the benefits of it.

Being aware of the positive impacts of meditation and Headspace can be a beacon of hope for people struggling with depression. It shows that meditation is not only a momentary way to find some moment of peace, it seems to have a more permanent effect on your depressive state. 

As research has shown that practicing mindfulness can also reduce the risk of relapse when a person suffers from recurrent depression. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Can Headspace help me cope with depression? 

What are ways to assess depression? 

There are some ways to assess depression. A therapist or another clinical professional that you will go to will most likely do so through a clinical interview.

They will ask about how you have been feeling, the symptoms you are experiencing, and for how long. Some may choose to ask you to fill in a scale that will determine the intensity of your depression. 

Some of them are available, and have been proven effective by science such as the “Beck Depression Inventory”, “Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)”, “EQ-5D”, and “Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D)”.

What are ways to deal with sadness? 

If you are feeling sad, the first thing you should do is allow your feelings to come out. Understand that sadness is a common emotion, just put it out. You can do so by writing, or crying, which will most likely make you feel better.

Try to understand where your sadness is coming from. It is a reaction to an event, or is there something in your life that has been making you sad. Thinking about that will allow you to understand your feelings better, but not only that, it will allow you to think if there is any change you need to do in your life to make yourself feel better.

What is the difference between sadness and depression? 

A lot of people assume that being sad is the same as being depressed. People often think that depression is just characterized by sadness, which is not true. 

Sadness is a common human emotion, and it can happen multiple times in people’s life. It will occur as a reaction to some stimuli, it can be an event that made you sad, a song, or even a movie. But it is a fleeting emotion that will pass after some time.

Depression is a mental health condition that can last long periods. And as said before, it is not only characterized by sadness. Some people may feel when depressed, more irritable, or more apathetic. 

But when depression leads to a person manifesting sadness, it is not in the same way as the sadness people can commonly feel. The sadness brought on by depression will touch every aspect of the person’s life. 

It is not a reaction to one stimulus, but rather a condition that affects their lives as a whole. Aside from that, when depressed, a person can feel sadness for a prolonged period, making it possible to differentiate depression from sadness.

What are ways to cope with anxiety? 

Dealing with anxiety is never easy. It might be important to look for the professional help from a therapist, for example, that will help you understand the triggers of your anxiety, and how to deal with them. In some cases, medication may also be necessary to help manage your symptoms.

But there are also coping strategies that you can use in your everyday life to help with anxiety. For example, having an active life. Exercising will surely help reduce your stress levels, and improve your mood. The same is said for having good sleeping and eating habits.

Alcohol and drugs can mess with your mood, and even though they can make you feel better as you use them, you may become more anxious. Caffeine drinks should also be avoided since they will make you more agitated. 

Using meditation or breathing exercises can also work wonders when you feel anxiety is taking the best of you. It will help you center yourself, and focus on the present rather than those racing thoughts.

Does depression have a cure?

No, depression doesn’t have a cure. Rather than that, mental health professionals will say that depression will go into remission. This is because there is a genetic factor to depression, which doesn’t allow us to say people will never go through a depressive episode again.

But this doesn’t mean that a person with depression won’t feel better. As they go into remission, they will be able to feel joy and regain the interest they had in things once again. Aside from that, being in remission will allow them to recover control over their emotions.

What is important to keep in while you are in remission, is that you should keep caring for your mental health. This will be extremely necessary to avoid a future relapse.

Conclusion 

This article focused on discussing how the app Headspace can help people cope with depression. It explained what os Headspace, is and what are the main benefits of using it when you are depressed.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write themem in the section below.

References

Strauss C, Dunkeld C, Cavanagh K. Is clinician-supported use of a mindfulness smartphone app a feasible treatment for depression? A mixed-methods feasibility study. Internet Interventions (2021): 25: 10043.

https://psychcentral.com/health/depression-app#our-picks
https://www.headspace.com/articles/habits-could-make-depression-better