calmMeditation. It’s all the rage these days and I’m sure you’ve had at least one friend tell you it’s life-changing, helping to deal with stress or simply being open to appreciating what’s already good and if you’re watching this, you’ve probably already made the decision that you want to give it a try. Either that or you simply want to try something new and spice things up or your my cousin Louis, there are a number of mindfulness meditation apps out there, but the two big heavy hitters in this space are Headspace and calm and calm. Just one the iTunes 2018 app of the year award, although I’m not exactly sure what that means. Personally, I’ve been using Headspace for the past few years, but they’re not sponsoring this post in any way. It’s just the first thing I happened to pick up when I decided to give this whole meditation thing a try.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about what you get with these apps before you pay for a subscription column gives you access to their seven days of calm in addition to a bunch of other packs. And one example of this are their masterclasses. Masterclasses is a term I’m starting to hear way too much, but in this case it’s just really going over the science of addiction and anxiety. It’s not an actual meditation because knowing is half the battle, you also get access to a few of their sleep stories, which is exactly what you would expect it to be. Somebody with a very soft voice lulling you to sleep with a very relaxing story. Finally, they have a variety of different music to get you into different States of mind. Or you can do what I do when I want to focus and pop on that dead mass.

According to their site. You should only have access to their seven days of calm, but I was able to access a lot more than that. So I think you get a certain number of things before the app locks you out. With Headspace, it’s pretty much the same story. Used to be that you’d only get access to the first 10 days of a meditation program and now you get not only that, but access to their other packs such as anxiety or stress or relationships. You can do the first meditation in there. Headspace also has skills for Google home and the Amazon Alexa platforms. That gives you 30 free days of guided meditation. The content isn’t quite the variety of what you get with calm, but if you’re looking to just get into meditation, then the sleep stories, masterclasses, and music that you get with comm won’t make a huge difference to you.

Whichever route you decided to take. There’s enough of a sampler platter here before you decide to involve your wallet. Plus, I’m guessing their data scientists probably know how many days it’s going to take for you to consistently meditate before you want to pay for a subscription-based on the free content. I see that. I’m going to guess that somewhere between seven and 10 days. At that point, you’re probably building up a good habit and you’re hungry for something a little bit more. If you do decide to pay. Both apps are priced to compete with one another. They both have monthly subscriptions at 1299 and Headspace gets a little more expensive at seven 99 a month versus four 99 a month and for lifetime memberships, Headspace is three 99 and calm is two 99 the good news though is that there’s always some sort of discount or coupon code available if you do a little bit of digging.

At this point, it’s fairly neck and neck. As far as meditation content is concerned. They both have the same amount of content for adults, kids, beginners, and more experienced meditators. Haven’t tried the kids content and calm, but I have for Headspace and it’s pretty fun. Not for me, but for my, I have nieces. Anyway. Here’s where things start to diverge. First, the user experience, and if you’re watching this a year from now, this is probably going to be a little bit different than the time this post came out. Headspace has this kind of cartoony interface and I think it’s pleasant. You might not and they also have a number of cute funny animations to help explain various meditation concepts. Those really helped me out in the beginning. There’s also a social component to Headspace so you can see how many people are currently meditating in this moment, which is pretty cool.

You can also add friends and see how much they’ve been meditating and what their current streak is and one could make the argument that poking or nudging people to meditate is going to shoot you straight to the top of their top five most annoying people list. Sorry, but that ticker that shows you how many people are currently meditating right now is kind of a nice light, non-intrusive way of just being more connected to people that are doing the practice. Organization of contents a little bit easier to navigate and it Headspace as well. Everything is distinctly grouped so that it’s easy to find and calm. If you scroll through the categories, you may end up seeing the same meditation packs over and over again because one pack that might apply to stress also applies to anxiety, but the interface with calm is entirely customizable. With different backgrounds and sounds to complement your meditation much better for people not looking for the guided experience, which leads us to content.

HeadspaceThere’s some advanced content and Headspace, but there’s really not as much customization as you get with comm. I’ve gotten through most of the Headspace content with the exception of the cancer pack, which I’m fortunate enough to not have had to deal with and the pregnancy pack for obvious reasons. It’s kind of like taking the training wheels off of guided meditation and getting you to a place where you’re the one checking in on yourself every so often. It’s a little unsettling at first, but it’s kind of nice after awhile. There are a number of meditation techniques and Headspace goes over several of them, but with the Headspace pro pack, it really only talks about body scanning and resting awareness. It would be nice to have more pro content and daily meditations around the different types of techniques. By the same token, with column, you can’t adjust the length of the meditations as well as you can in Headspace.

So if I want to meditate for 10 minutes, easy to do in Headspace, if I want to meditate for 20 minutes with the same meditation, also easy to do and Headspace, not really the case in calm, calm also has a wider variety of techniques with their masterclasses and sleep stories. It’s not really just a meditation app. It’s more of a consciousness-altering app. Plus the sleep stories are read by a variety of celebrities like Bindi Irwin deny a good EDA Stephen Fry and brace yourselves. Ben Stein reprising his role as the economics professor and Ferris Bueller’s day off reading the wealth of nations. It’s like the deleted scene. You never knew you needed to put you to sleep. And speaking of voices, let’s talk about the last and arguably most important aspect of either of these apps or any meditation app. The voice this for most people is going to be the single most important determining factor into which app you stick with.

If you stick with it at all. Of course, meditation isn’t for everyone with column, you get the voice of tomorrow. Love it. It’s very soothing. Feminine American voice, very easy to understand and follow. It’s kind of like listening to a good audio book with Headspace. You get the voice of Andy Puddicombe, a soothing male British voice. Andy is just as simple to follow and the difference there is that when he talks, it feels like he’s sitting there in the room with you one on one. It feels less scripted and that makes a lot of sense because Andy trained and practice as an ordained monk for a decade before he decided to come back to the Western world and create Headspace. I’ll link his Ted talk down below, but ultimately it’s a fascinating story and it’s one of the big reasons why I still use Headspace today because you can stack on features and celebrities and neuroscientists, but if you don’t come back every single day for the simple act of meditation because you don’t have that connection with your teacher, it doesn’t really matter.

So try doing meditation with both apps. They’re free. See which voice gives you the best feeling and go with that. With this level of competition, these apps are only wanting to get more and more content with time, and in a year from now, I’m imagining they’re going to be completely different, but it’s the app that you stick with. At the end of the day that matters. And until I decided to abandon my life for an extended meditation retreat, that Ted space, of course, feel free to tell me about your favorite apps or Zen techniques. Otherwise, we’ll see you in the next one, not Mustang.