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Ten Percent Happier: Maintaining Mindfulness

As part of our ongoing efforts to celebrate and honor those who are working hard to help others during this time of unprecedented global crisis, we’re sharing stories from customers using Squarespace to bring support, hope, and connection to their communities. 

The team behind the Ten Percent Happier app and podcast has always been dedicated to providing mindfulness resources and meditation tools to their users. We spoke to Ben Rubin, the co-founder and CEO of Ten Percent Happier, to learn more about their guide to keeping your sanity, how meditation can help, and the one thing everyone can try to do to manage their anxiety right now.

SQUARESPACE: In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, you launched the ‘Coronavirus Sanity Guide’ as a free resource for anyone struggling during these uncertain times. What does this particular guide entail?

BEN RUBIN: We’re in unprecedented times. The global health crisis of COVID-19 has spawned a global mental health crisis as we all try to cope with fear, uncertainty, anger, and loneliness. To help you find your footing, we’ve built a free Coronavirus Sanity Guide that consists of guided meditations, podcast discussions, and talks with incredibly wise meditation teachers and mental health experts—all speaking directly to coping strategies and practices that actually work in this global crisis. 

SQSP: How can meditation help people during this time of unprecedented uncertainty?

RUBIN: The dramatic uncertainty that coronavirus has injected into all of our lives highlights an uncomfortable truth. Try as we might, we can’t control what the world throws at us. How we respond, however, is within our purview. Meditation helps us develop the counterintuitive, powerful capacity to meet this moment with a bit more (10%, perhaps) balance and clarity. There’s no need to take this on faith, either. There is strong scientific evidence that suggests meditation lowers levels of depression, anxiety and overall stress. It’s a practical way to deal with this moment, and helps people build resilience and find some calm amidst the chaos.  

SQSP: You have also offered free access to the Ten Percent Happier app to every healthcare worker. How do you hope the app helps those currently working in the medical field?

RUBIN: As hard as our team and teachers are working during these times, we’re far from the front line. Our healthcare workers, on a daily basis, are demonstrating a level of bravery, selflessness, and compassion that is an inspiration for us all. Offering healthcare workers free access the Ten Percent Happier app is the least we can do to help them cope with the massive demands that coronavirus has placed on them. Over 28,000 healthcare workers have taken up the app to help them serve more effectively and retain their sanity.

SQSP: Additionally, you have launched a live daily version of your “Sanity Breaks.” What has the response to these sessions been like? 

RUBIN: The physical distancing that is so necessary to keep our communities safe has, for many, created a pandemic of loneliness and isolation.

In response, we launched Ten Percent Happier Live. Each day, we offer a live “sanity break” featuring our host, Dan Harris, in addition to some of the world’s best meditation teachers. Each episode starts with a five minute meditation, followed by questions from viewers. We’ve been able to support folks going through COVID-19, dealing with the loss of a loved one, and managing through financial devastation. We’ve also seen our community connecting together, even in this time, with joy, laughter, and immense gratitude.

Although we’re physically distant, we’re proud to be offering our community a way to connect deeply.

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SQSP: Ten Percent Happier offers a variety of meditation resources. If someone has never meditated before, how do you recommend they start?

RUBIN: We recommend starting with The Basics, our free introductory course in the Ten Percent Happier app. Once you are through The Basics, our renowned teachers also offer a variety of approaches, so you can find meditations that work best for you

SQSP: What is one thing that everyone can do to try to manage their anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis?

RUBIN: Go easy on yourself. This one is poignant for me, as my go-to stress management technique is to work like crazy. It works for a beat… then I’m burned out, exhausted, and snappy with those around me - which adds to their stress. For some, going easy on yourself means engaging your curiosity, exercising, and meditation. For others though, a pandemic isn’t the right time to put extra pressure on yourself to learn a new language, pick up a new hobby, or start a business from your home. So go easy on yourself, whatever that means for you.

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