If you can't make it to a national park, your mind can still wander there with this app
There's nothing like visiting America's national parks, but Headspace is bringing its users a little closer through a new partnership with the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service.
The mindfulness and meditation app is rolling out new national parks-inspired content to help transport subscribers to places like Grand Canyon and Yosemite, in their minds.
"We know that being in nature is associated with many mental health benefits," Headspace's Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Dana Udall said. "It can decrease stress. It can increase subjective well-being and even give people a greater sense of purpose or meaning in their life."
Citing similar clinically proven benefits of mindfulness and meditation, like increased focus and resilience, she said pairing the powers "makes tons of sense."
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Users are led into specific parks through guided mediations, wind-downs, which help them unwind, and sleepcasts, which are stories set in the parks. Most of the experiences are audio-based, but there are meditations featuring cinematic videos of the parks.
"It's really a sensory and immersive experience, which can take you there," Udall said.
As part of the partnership, Headspace is donating $150,000 to the National Park Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving and protecting national parks.
"The National Park Foundation is thrilled to partner with Headspace to connect the beautiful natural sounds of our most iconic parks to the health benefits of meditation," the foundation's president and CEO Will Shafroth said in a statement. "By connecting people around the world to national parks, we hope they will be inspired to protect them for years to come."
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Protecting the parks is personal to Udall. Her great uncle Stewart Lee Udall served as Secretary of the Interior under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
"His love of the land has really been passed on to me, and I've noticed myself so many mental health benefits whether I am going on a run or camping in a national park or really just sitting in my backyard in the sunshine," she said. "I tend to feel less stressed, and more present. I'm breathing more deeply. I'm more aware of my surroundings …You can have some of those benefits from your living room."
Headspace's first batch of national park content dropped Monday featuring Joshua Tree, Yosemite and Zion. Three more batches are coming later this year featuring other parks. Subscriptions start at $5.83 a month with a free two-week trial.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: National park lovers have a new way to escape with Headspace