Got five minutes? That’s all this app needs to help rid you of stress

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“I simply don’t have time.” How often do you make that statement? If you’re like us, then pretty often, so if it was suggested that you take a few moments to meditate each day, you’d probably derisively laugh it off as an impossibility. Simple Habit is an app that understands the problem, but knows the benefits of meditation, therefore makes it easy to squeeze it into your daily routine.

Simple Habit contains fast, five-minute mindfulness meditation plans, which can be listened to over headphones at any time, anywhere. The guided sessions are run by experienced meditation teachers, and although five minutes may sound like a short time for meditation — we often consider such a practice to involve siting cross-legged on the floor for hours — with mindfulness, the benefits come after short sessions.

What are these benefits? The app promises better sleep, more focus, improved memory, and crucially, less stress. It’s that final benefit that led Yunha Kim, CEO of Simple Habit, to create the app in the first place. She discovered meditation when stress was at its highest while running her previous startup, Locket, saying learning to meditate “changed the way I dealt with stress.” Now, she wants others with busy, nonstop lives to reap the same rewards. Apparently, just one Simple Habit session can help focus attention, but obviously, to really get the best from the sessions, it requires some dedication. Simple Habit says five minutes a day for two to four weeks will really supercharge the initial effect.

Initially only for Apple’s iOS operating system, Simple Habit is now available for Android, and as a web app. The mobile apps are free to download, but to really enjoy the app, you’ll need to pay a subscription. For both iOS and Android, it’s $12 per month, or $100 per year. However, if you own an Android phone and get the app quickly enough, a promotion cuts the cost to $10 per month or $70 for the year. If you’re really keen, a $300 one-off payment gets you a lifetime subscription.

The app is packed with content. Meditations address everything from getting better sleep to getting over a breakup, and the available sessions total two years worth of content, with more added each week. Sessions can last for five, 10, or 20 minutes, and there are many different guides, so you’re not always listening to the same person. Beyond the meditation aspect, the app includes podcasts, a calendar to track progress, monthly challenges, and reminders to get meditating.

Simple Habit ScreenshotsAfter the app was first released, it was noted that thirty percent of Simple Habit users were students, so it made sense to add education-specific meditations to the app. In version 2.14 of the iOS app, sessions covering interviews, study breaks, exams, and grade worries were added. All feature one of Simple Habit’s most popular meditation teachers, Cory Muscara, a positive psychology teacher at the University of Pennsylvania.

To get students onboard, Simple Habit is offering a free 30-day trial to students signing up with a .edu email address, plus a 30 percent discount on any subscription package if they decide to continue.

Don’t worry if all this sounds like hippy hokum. There are several studies that show mindfulness mediation can not only reduce stress and anxiety levels, but also to train the brain to get better at multi-tasking, and to free it creatively. Apple has recently drawn attention to mindfulness meditation with the addition of the Breathe feature inside WatchOS 3, which will be released later this year. The Apple Watch app presents breathing exercises, designed to help improve focus and reduce stress.

More: Say ‘om’: Now you can meditate wearing Samsung’s Gear VR

Created with the help of a Harvard psychologist and several mediation teachers, Simple Habit has sessions designed for everyone, ready to prepare the mind for a task, or particular situation. Kim told Digital Trends that a surgeon used the app with success during the early beta test, “to focus better before performing surgery.”

In the first six months after Simple Habit’s release, people in 115 countries have used it to meditate for a collective total of 20,000 hours.

Article originally published 06-16. Updated on 11-09-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of Simple Habit’s Android app release, and a web app.

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