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Video: Interview with Co-founder Chris Aimone and EVP of Sales Jackie Cooper

Over the past week, we were lucky enough to be invited to host the Mindfulness Room at the 2018 Salesforce Connections conference in Chicago.

During the conference Muse co-founder Chris Aimone and Jackie Cooper, our EVP of sales & marketing sat down with the Salesforce Live team to discuss how Muse came to life, how we’ve seen it help change lives, and where we’re going.

In our calm, dark oasis we had a steady stream of mindful conference goers, many of which were in need of help starting their personal mindfulness practice. We ran 6 stations of Muse demos as well as our visual Nanoleaf Campfire experience which connects users to a stunning panel of glowing panels that change colour and brightness depending on their mental state.

muse meditation app

muse meditation app

 

Thank you to everyone who came by and spent time meditating with us!

Interested in experiencing Muse first hand? You can follow our events list HERE to see if we’ll be running demos in an area near you, or you always have the option to purchase one for yourself:

Muse Makes Meditation Easy. 

Welcome to Muse: your personal meditation assistant. Muse is the first tool that gives you accurate, real-time neurofeedback on what’s happening in your brain while you meditate.

Stop guessing if you’re doing it right — start tracking your progress and reaching your goals.


FREE SHIPPING & MONEY BACK GUARANTEED 

 

Spoiler Alert: 3 New Languages Available

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We’ve been hard at work over at the Muse HQ on a much-requested project: Internationalization!

We’re excited to announce that next week the full Muse e-commerce experience will be available in French, German, and Spanish.  On top of that, French, German, and Spanish customers will also be able to experience the Muse Meditation app with guided soundscapes in their default phone language setting.

best meditation app, muse meditation, meditation

 

Next on the list? Italian and Japanese! Launch date? Stay tuned!

To celebrate the launch (and Father’s Day) we’re offering Muse for the lowest price of the year – over 25% off!

 

Muse Makes Meditation Easy. 

Welcome to Muse: your personal meditation assistant. Muse is the first tool that gives you accurate, real-time neurofeedback on what’s happening in your brain while you meditate.

Stop guessing if you’re doing it right — start tracking your progress and reaching your goals. No promo code required.


FREE SHIPPING & MONEY BACK GUARANTEED 

What’s The Best Meditation App For You?

Interested in meditation but don’t know where to start? All you might need is the right meditation tool to get going.

To some, the idea of using technology to find serenity seems insane. After all, the constant need to be connected to technology can often be the root cause of stress, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed.

However, the statistics tell a different story. In 2015 the meditation and mindfulness industry earned almost $1 billion, with millions of meditation app downloads worldwide. (1)

With so many options available, how do you know what meditation tool is right for you?

best meditation app, subscription cost headspace, refund headspace, pricing headspace

Here’s the quick breakdown if you don’t have time to read the whole article:

  • If you’re new to meditation and looking to learn the basics, the Headspace app is for you.
  • If you’re looking for more than just meditation and would enjoy relaxing bedtime stories and background music as well, the Calm app is for you.
  • If you’re a beginner or intermediate looking to quickly develop meditation as a habit and are serious about training your mind for less stress and anxiety, the Muse headband and app is for you. The Muse app includes free guided meditation, background sounds, and real-time feedback if used with the Muse headband.  

But before we get into comparing each brand, we wanted to quickly touch on the question many have: Are technology and meditation compatible?

Why Using Technology to Meditate Isn’t Counterintuitive

The problem we face with technology is not the tool itself, but the apps we use and their impact on human behaviour. For example, many social media apps encourage addictive behaviours, such as mindless scrolling and clicking.

In contrast, technology can also be used in a constructive manner to promote positive behaviour. For example, meditation apps encourage sitting still, quieting the mind and deep breathing. The meditation sessions themselves don’t require actual screen time; just hitting the play button and listening to audio, similar to a CD player.

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is not just spiritual fluff or soul food – it works at a physiological level to change the structure of the brain. For example, it strengthens the neural connections related to logic and rational assessment and weakens the neural connections related to fear and anger. This results in greater self-awareness, emotional control, and puts space between our immediate judgments and responses. (2)

Fortunately, thousands of clinical studies have been conducted to date that verify meditation’s benefits. Research shows that meditation can improve: (3) (4)

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Blood pressure
  • Memory
  • Focus

With benefits like that, it’s no wonder we’re seeing a huge shift in interest.

So how do meditation apps help? Read on…

best meditation app, subscription cost headspace, refund headspace, pricing headspace

How Meditation Apps & Tools Help: The Brain Workout

Let’s face the elephant in the room: meditation is difficult.

As technology has progressed and the pace of life has gotten faster, our minds have become wired to respond to instant gratification, constant achievement, and crossing off to-do lists. We no longer know how to sit still and do nothing. In fact, just the thought of doing nothing can trigger feelings of being overwhelmed, boredom, or anxiety for a lot of people.

This is where apps and meditation tools come in.

Meditation apps serve as a tool to help cross the bridge from doing to being. Specifically, meditation apps help in these three main ways:

    1. Structure: Most of us don’t know what to do with our wandering minds, but apps provide the motivation, guidance and structure that’s needed to get started.
    2. Habit formation. The key to an effective meditation practice lies in consistency, by incorporating it into your daily routine. Meditation apps encourage habit formation with scheduled reminders and progress tracking.
    3. Convenience. It can be difficult to find the time or energy to go to a meditation class, but meditation apps make it simple. You don’t have to go anywhere and can practice in the comfort of your bedroom.

Here’s where things get interesting – meditation at its core is essentially brain training, or working out your brain the same way you’d work out any other muscle group.  In order to be successful at brain training, you need to be working out regularly (i.e. develop a regular meditation practice) or you won’t see full results. The tricky thing about building new habits is: it’s really hard.  

Are you someone who’s already tried a few different apps and haven’t been able to start a consistent practice? 

You’re not alone. Meditation is HARD and for many, confusing even with a gentle voice guiding you.  One of the reasons we developed the Muse headband in combination with the Muse app is to help people take the guesswork out of meditation, by using live feedback so they know what’s going on in their head while they meditate – essentially acting as your personal meditation assistant.

Finding Daily Calm: The Best Meditation Apps & Tools For Your Needs 

While a wide range of meditation apps exist on the market, there are three popular apps that are top contenders for unique reasons – Headspace, Muse, and Calm. Whether you’re a beginner that prefers guided meditation or someone more advanced looking to deepen your practice, you’ll find your needs met with one of the options above.

The brief guide below will help you review each offer and find the best app for you:

 

HEADSPACE

What is the Headspace meditation app?

best meditation app, subscription cost headspace, refund headspace, pricing headspaceThe Headspace app contains a library of guided meditation sessions that are simple to follow, with the overarching goal to make meditation accessible to everyone.  There are specific programs such as meditation for sleep, work, stress, anxiety and focus that you can access with a paid subscription – unfortunately, you need to complete one pack first before switching around. With a subscription, there are also SOS meditations for when you need to take a quick breather that are three minutes each.

If you don’t like Andy P’s voice, you may be sorely disappointed with only having access to his voice alone for your guided meditation sessions.

Note: if you have Spotify, you can listen to some free samples of Headspace guided meditation, ranging from a “mindful breakfast”, to “how to sit” and even “an early morning hike”.

best meditation app, headspace cost, headspace subscription, pricing headspace

Who is Headspace good for? Beginners.

This is a great app for absolute beginners to meditation, who may not even see the point of mindfulness or meditation just yet. The Headspace app oversimplifies meditation, which ensures that it is not too demanding for users and also adds cute animations to brighten up the user experience.

Opt for Headspace is you are reluctant to try meditation and would like a gentle introduction.

Headspace free trial:

instead of a free trial period, Headspace offers lifetime access to a specific set of limited free content.
This includes:

  • Basics (ten sessions – once you’ve done these, you can go back and do any of them again, but to access any other content, you need a subscription.)
  • Breathe Mini
  • 1 session from the most popular pack in each series
  • Singles Introductions
  • Everyday Headspace (3 sessions)
  • Add up to five friends as meditation buddies, and view each other’s stats.

You can also review some of your meditation stats such as the average amount of time you meditate, the total number of sessions you’ve done, your total time meditating with the app, and how long of a streak you’ve kept up. To unlock more content you have to subscribe.

subscription cost headspace, headspace price, pricing headspace, best meditation app
Image via www.headspace.com

Headspace subscription cost: $12.99-$399.00

$12.99/month, $95.88/year, $399.99 for lifetime subscription.

Headspace Refund and cancellation:

New subscribers are entitled to a full refund within 7 days after purchase for subscriptions that are longer than one month. Subscription automatically renews unless cancelled. It can be cancelled at any time without early termination fees and does offer a money back guarantee.

MUSE: the brain sensing headband & app

What is the Muse: the brain-sensing headband and its app?

best meditation app, subscription cost calm, refund calm, pricing calm Muse is different to all other meditation apps on the market – it’s a smartphone app and a brain-sensing headband that tracks your brainwaves and gives you live audio feedback while you meditate through the app. In fact, it’s the first tool in the world that can give you accurate, real-time feedback on what’s happening in your brain while you meditate.

Muse provides feedback by translating your brain signals into guiding sounds, such as wind, rain, or gentle ocean waves.

For example, when your mind is calm and settled, you hear calm and settled winds. When your mind is active the winds will pick up and blow.

After each session, you’ll see how you did with easy charts showing how much time your mind spend in active, calm, and neutral states. You can track your progress over time, complete challenges, and earn points to stay engaged and on track.  

Muse’s whole approach revolves around helping you find what type of guidance works best for you.  Instead of having several different guided meditation sessions telling you what to do, we offer different techniques to try to see what guidance works best for you personally through the real-time feedback.

Don’t want a headband? You can still download and use the Muse app for free with no headband to access simple guided meditations and nature soundtracks.
best meditation app, refund headspace, pricing headspace, subscription cost headspace

Who is Muse good for? Absolute beginners to advanced meditators. 

Whether you are a beginner or more advanced, Muse is ideal for anyone who is committed to building an effective meditation practice and is motivated to train their brain and develop a consistent and satisfying meditation practice.

Muse app subscription cost: Free

There is no ongoing subscription fee to use the app. You can download and use the Muse app with no headband to access simple guided meditations and nature soundtracks.  If you’re interested in using the app with the headband you simply make a one-time payment of $249 for the headband.

Muse free trial:

The Muse app is 100% free to download, and the Muse headband comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Refund and cancellation:

Same as above, return within 30 days for a full refund if you are not satisfied with your purchase.

CALM

What is the Calm app?

best meditation app, subscription cost calm, refund calm, pricing calm

 

The Calm app is not specific to meditation – it provides three main options on the home screen to help you calm down: music, meditation and sleep stories (yes, actual bedtime stories!)

Similar to Headspace, the Calm app provides specific programs for stress, happiness, sleep, focus and more.  Calm also has a decent variety of different instructors to allow you to see what voices and content resonate with your individual preference. 

 

It also allows you to tailor your experience based on the following goals:

  • Develop gratitude
  • Better sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Increase happiness
  • Improve focus
  • Learn to meditate

best meditation app, subscription cost calm, refund calm, pricing calm

Who is Calm good for? Beginners to intermediate.

The Calm app is ideal for beginners, who are new to meditation and mindfulness. However, it can be used by intermediate and advanced meditators as well.

Calm app free trial:

7 days of access to a limited library of sleep stories, meditation programs and music. The ‘masterclass’ tab is not available in the trial and unlocked with a premium pass.

best meditation app, subscription cost calm, refund calm, pricing calm best meditation app, subscription cost calm, refund calm, pricing calm
image via www.calm.com

Calm app subscription cost:

$12.99/month, $59.99/year and $299.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Calm app refund and cancellation:

You must cancel your monthly or yearly Subscription before it renews to avoid the billing of the fees for the next subscription period. According to Calm.com’s terms of service, refunds are not available for the fees that are already paid in the current subscription period and all payments made are non-refundable and non-transferable.

So, What’s The Best Meditation App For You?

  • If you’re new to meditation and looking to learn the basics, the Headspace app is for you.
  • If you’re looking for more than just meditation and would enjoy relaxing bedtime stories and music as well, the Calm app is for you.
  • If you’re a beginner or intermediate looking to quickly develop meditation as a habit and are serious about training your mind for less stress and anxiety, the Muse headband and app is for you. 

 

Muse Makes Meditation Easy. 

Stop guessing if you’re doing it right — start tracking your progress and reaching your goals.

best meditation app, subscription cost headspace, refund headspace, pricing headspace
FREE SHIPPING & MONEY BACK GUARANTEED 

SOURCES:

  1. Wieczner, J. (2016). http://fortune.com. [online] Fortune. Available at: http://fortune.com/2016/03/12/meditation-mindfulness-apps/ [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].
  2. Gladding, R. (2013). This is your brain on meditation. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation  [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].
  3. Moore, A., Gruber, T., Derose, J. and Malinowski, P. (2012). Regular, brief mindfulness meditation practice improves electrophysiological markers of attentional control. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6.
  4. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (n.d.). Meditation: In Depth. [online] Available at: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm#hed3 [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

Experience the Muse Meditation Cave

Ever wondered what it feels like to light up a cave with the gentle glow of your own brainwaves? Using our Muse: the brain-sensing headbands and Nanoleaf light panels, we created an out-of-this-world meditation experience for Nature Nocturne and the Canadian Museum of Nature for their special BRAIN: The inside story exhibit.

The Brain exhibit focused around 21st-century research and technology and offered a new perspective and keen insight into the complexity of the brain as a remarkable organ, how it has evolved, and how you have the power to enhance your own brain.

Exhibit explorers entered into the Muse mediation cave and were able to experience firsthand a visual and auditory experience like no other.  Participants in the group meditation sat around a glowing Nanoleaf panelled pyramid that directly responded to their own brainwaves through their Muse headband. As they started to meditate, both the gentle sounds of rain as well as the colourful glow of the panels filled the dimly lit cave.

The volume of the rain, the sounds of birds chirping, and the fluctuations in the panel colours reflected how calm and focused they were able to be.

 

muse mediation, meditation

 

muse meditation, meditation

After the meditation, users were then able to reflect and compare their sessions as monitored from the Muse headbands to see how long they were able to remain in the different mental states of calm, neutral, and active.

Interested in experiencing Muse at home for yourself? Learn more here.  Interested in having Muse come to your wellness space for an unforgettable mindful tech experience?  Send us a note at press@interaxon.ca.

Conflict Resolution: 6 Common Arguing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

If the thought of getting into an argument causes you to break out into a nervous sweat or want to hide under the covers, you’re not alone. After all, the word argument comes with a negative connotation – perhaps it makes you visualize raised voices, tears, and insults being hurled.

However, an argument (or conflict in general) does not have to be a negative experience.

An argument can be used as a tool for positive change, but only when it is used in the right manner. There is a right and a wrong way to argue, and this distinction can be the difference between a strong, resilient relationship and one that comes to an end.

conflict resolution skills

The Most Common Arguing Mistakes

As mentioned above, an argument is not a bad thing – provided the process is productive and there is some form of resolution at the end. Unfortunately, there is one thing that stands in the way of experiencing an argument in a constructive manner: emotions.

In an untrained and emotionally reactive mind, emotions guide behaviour instead of rational thought, which can serve as a roadblock, significantly worsen or derail an argument altogether.

Below are the most common ways that emotion can hinder an argument:

1. Criticism

There is a difference between a complaint and criticism. A complaint allows you to voice a negative view about a circumstance, behaviour or event. A criticism is a direct, personal attack on a person’s personality. For example, a valid complaint is, “I would like to go out more with you on Saturday nights, I don’t enjoy it when we stay at home.” A criticism is, “you are so boring and cheap, we never go out on Saturday nights because you want to watch TV”.

It’s easy to see why the former sets the stage for a productive, solution-oriented conversation, and the latter can spark resentment, bitterness and a counter-attack.

2. Defensiveness

How often have you said, “It’s not my fault”, or “I never said that”, before even giving a complaint adequate thought and consideration? For an argument to be constructive, the problem at hand first has to be acknowledged.

A defensive person does not acknowledge the problem, and therefore the process for a constructive argument cannot even begin. This results in the initiator feeling frustrated at not being heard, and the defensive person refusing to take responsibility for their actions on an ongoing basis.

 

conflict resolution

3. Combat mentality

The goal of an argument is to find a resolution, and not to produce a winner and a loser. However, going into an argument with a zero-sum mentality breeds defensiveness, and hinders all ability to self-reflect, problem solve or take ownership of a problem.

4. Making assumptions

Have you ever rehearsed what you are going to say to someone when you confront them? After all, you want to get all your points across. Unfortunately, this internal dialogue only focuses on you and your assumptions.

While some level of preparation might help you gain clarity, it is important to be aware that rehearsing perpetuates your own assumptions about the other person’s intentions, and discourages listening to another point of view.

conflict resolution skills

5. Contempt

Contempt refers to the feeling of being superior to the other person and is perhaps the most harmful to a relationship. This involves intentionally insulting the other person by calling them names or teasing them about something you know they are sensitive about. You cannot have a constructive argument if you do not bring respect for the other person to the conversation.

6. Stonewalling

This is different from a timeout to collect your thoughts – stonewalling is refusing to acknowledge your another person’s perspective and being dismissive. This could take the form of one-word answers, silence, or statements such as, “end of conversation” and “stop talking”. This results in the other person feeling frustrated, isolated and unheard.

 

What is Mindful Arguing?

Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” (1)

Mindful arguing, therefore, refers to the process of being fully present during an argument, without judgment. This requires us to become self-aware of our own emotions and biases – so we do not let them affect our decisions or action – and more sensitive to a different point of view.

conflict resolution

How To Be Mindful In An Argument

Removing judgement and separating emotion from logic during an argument is no simple feat –  it requires patience and practice. You can try the following strategies the next time you get into an argument:

1. Acknowledge

The first step to a more mindful argument is acknowledging that you have your own biases and sense of distorted perspective. This opens the door to ownership and acceptance of responsibility.

2. Cognitive reframe

The natural instinct in an argument is to view the other person in a negative light, and yourself in the positive. This skews our perspective and makes it difficult to find common ground. Instead, try to view the other person from a positive light to see their perspective.

3. Attentional mindfulness

Focus on your immediate reaction with attentional mindfulness: notice how your body is responding (clenched jaw, hands on hip) and your instinctual emotions (anger, fear, sadness). Notice and acknowledge their presence, and then let them go so that you are able to resolve the problem from a rational perspective.

4. Agree on what you’re trying to resolve

It’s common for the subject to get changed throughout an argument, which leads to people arguing about two different things. For example, an argument about “coming home late” can easily get changed to “you forgot my birthday”. Get clarity on whether the issue is about arriving late from work, or being forgetful with special dates.

5. Listen, actively

Take the time to listen to the other person’s point of view without interruption. Then, state what you are hearing. This assures the other person that they are being heard, provides clarity and prevents misunderstanding. For example, “You’re feeling upset, because you want to spend more time together.”

6. Examine priorities

Take a moment in the middle of an argument to assess what’s more important, being right in this instance or maintaining the strength of the relationship? Are you able to release your attachment to the desired outcome?

7. Cultivating Mindfulness

Instead of waiting for an argument to happen in order to practice, it is also possible to train your brain to become more mindful on a regular basis.

8. Journaling

Try to journal about what your triggers are, this may help you work through your emotions and determine the underlying reasons behind the triggers.

9. Meditation

Meditation is the ideal tool to cultivate mindfulness as it can physically alter your brain to become more self aware. Meditation strengthens the assessment center of the brain, which engages in logical reasoning and rational thought, and simultaneously weakens the fear centre of the brain that tend to respond with fear and anger. (2)

 

To learn more, you can read this article on mindful communication and how it can help you become a better communicator.

 

Sources:

  1. Hall, E. (2017). Communicating Mindfully in Relationships. [online] Psychology Today. Available at:https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/conscious-communication/201709/communicating-mindfully-in-relationships [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].
  2. Gladding, R. (2013). This is your brain on meditation. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation  [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].