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Headspace app offers politics pack for election anxiety

For voters freaking out over the midterm elections and the rest of the increasingly polarized American political scene, there’s an app for that.

Headspace, a meditation app, earlier this week began offering a “Politics Pack,” comprised of meditation resources “designed to help you breathe, de-stress and reset.” The app can be downloaded for free.

The pack includes 3-minute-long “SOS” guided meditation sessions for dealing with sensations that can arise from seeing political News, such as “Feeling Overwhelmed,” “Losing Your Temper” and “Panicking.”

Other sessions that will remain free until next Wednesday — a day after the midterm elections — are geared toward “Patience,” “Transforming Anger,” and “Difficult Conversation.”

Headspace, which was co-founded by the England-born Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, says there’s plenty of reason to believe people will need such meditative relief this election season.

The company cited an American Psychological Association poll in February 2017 that found more than half of Americans — 57 percent — said the political climate then was a “very” or “somewhat significant” source of stress. Some 49 percent of respondents said the outcome of the presidential election was a source of those levels of stress.

In fact, a week after the 2016 presidential elections, Headspace said it saw a 44-percent surge in the usage of its sessions. The company also noted a whopping 300 percent surge in the use of its “Feeling Overwhelmed” session, around the date of the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

“We saw that people were coming to our app in time of high stress,” said Headspace spokeswoman Britta Franson. “So this time, we wanted to proactively give people a resource.”

Franson said the company’s customer experience team assembled the sessions in the Politics Pack “by looking through emails and social media posts from our customers saying what they have been finding helpful for political stress.”

In promoting the pack, Headspace did not mention any specific politicians or issues by name.

But the app was used on the heels of the election of President Donald Trump by a number of staffers at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (OGE), who met for daily group meditation sessions.

Walter Schaub, the former director of the OGE, told CNBC earlier this year that staffers at the office, whch helps government officials avoid conflicts of interest, began using Headspace in part because “we weren’t prepared for the chaos in this administration.”

“We weren’t prepared for the assault on us,” said Schaub. “The world, it was just crazy in 2017.”

Schaub said meditating each day helped the small group of people who gatherered for the 10-minute sessions.

“Uniformly, everybody seemed to think they were more refreshed than they would have been,” Schaub said. “Afterward, people felt like, ‘OK, this is still miserable in what we’re going through, but we can get back into the ring for another round now.’ “

source : CNBC

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