March Mindfulness is our new series that examines the explosive growth in mindfulness and meditation technology — culminating in Mashable’s groundbreaking competitive meditation bracket contest. Because March shouldn’t be all madness.
Tracks progress • Rewards consistency • Provides morning affirmations • Offers music and guided meditations for specific scenarios • Allows for customization
Monthly premium membership costs more than Spotify Premium • Cheesy cover art • Unsettling ASMR narrator (sometimes)
Humm.ly’s library has music tracks and meditations designed for just about any mood or situation you’re in, which makes the app versatile. That said, some tracks are flops.
When I’m under a tight deadline (read: panicked), a common refrain that runs through my mind is “You’ll never get this done on time.” To tune out negative thoughts, I’ll often listen to the “chill” genre on Spotify. So when I saw that the Humm.ly app uses both music and guided meditations to help boost creativity and focus while soothing the mind, I was eager to try it out.
When you first open the app, you’ll be greeted by the app’s adorable bumblebee mascot. You’ll then enter a library filled with a variety of “sessions,” which include music tracks without meditations as well as meditation sessions paired with music (for these, you use a sliding bar to choose how much background music or how much of the meditation instructor’s voice you’d like to hear). These are grouped into seven sections: “featured,” “music,” “daily routine,” “grow,” “relax,” “inspire,” and “favorites,” where you can drop the tracks you like best.
After starting the free premium trial (more on that later), I was surprised and impressed to see sessions for a variety of different scenarios. For example, there are ones allegedly geared towards helping people cope with breakups, homesickness, panic attacks, public speaking, social anxiety, work-life balance, and more. There’s even one called “Natural Disaster Relief,” which supposedly helps people deal with worry and loss in the the wake of a natural disaster.
The wide yet tailored range proved to me that the Humm.ly team recognizes my truth: Managing anxiety is part of my everyday routine. There are tons of different scenarios in which I need to manage it, which Humm.ly accounts for. Sometimes I’m at work. Other times I’m in bed.
But still, could an app really deliver? Would Humm.ly be able to use music to go through every part of my day?
Fine-tuning my nighttime routine
I most often feel anxious at night, when I stay up overthinking things. That’s why, when testing out Humm.ly, my number one goal was to find music that would drown out those late-night thoughts and ease me into a blissful sleep. I was skeptical, though, because in preschool, I was the kid who never gave into the lullabies during nap time.
To start the night off, I selected the track called “Evening Relaxation,” an eight-minute meditation. Reminded of my nap time history, I opted to include both the meditation narration and the background music. Once I clicked play, I was welcomed by the sounds of ocean waves and a calming, female voice. What I appreciated most about this track was how it helped me get in touch with my senses through breathing exercises and stretches, like tilting your head to one side to feel the stretch in your neck.
After completing the meditation, I felt more present because these physical exercises helped me focus on my body rather than my mind — and my anxious thoughts. If I wanted to hear the session again, I could click the repeat button or use the sleep timer on the lower right to change the session’s length to either 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a fan of some of the other sleeping tracks, particularly “Sleep Lullaby,” which featured a slow, hush female voice that should have been in an ASMR video. I quit just about six minutes in, when she started talking about surrendering and falling deep into a trance. It sounded like hypnosis, so I bailed.
Incorporating the app into everyday life
Aside from the sleep meditations, there’s morning sessions, like “Morning Intention” and “Morning Stretch,” as well as other daytime tracks that help people build concentration and focus on the present. I chose “Energy Boost,” a meditation for when you feel burned out at work. The soothing, female voice instructed me to pay attention to my body, noticing the flow of my breath. I was told to collect energy life force when I inhaled and release stress, negativity, and fatigue when I exhaled.
Humm.ly also includes multiple features that will encourage you to hold yourself accountable to a mindfulness routine, such as notifications that share morning affirmations, a calendar that keeps track of your streaks (I’ve been on the app for four straight days!), and a daily reminder to return to the app, which you can set for any time of the day. I found these features useful, especially the daily reminder because when the day gets going and my to-do list starts to get long, I sometimes forget to take time to relax and unwind.
Be patient or pay up
After each session, as an award, you’ll see a burst of virtual confetti, an encouraging message reminding you to celebrate continuing to practice, and honey points from the app’s bumblebee mascot. You can also earn honey points by following Humm.ly on Instagram, rating the app, or telling your friends about it (So points don’t always coincide with how much you practice). The more honey points you get, the more tracks and videos you unlock. Consistency will also help you earn badges, like the “Apprentice” badge, awarded to people who use Humm.ly for seven days in a row.
If you don’t want to wait to hear the other tracks, you can try the free premium trial like I did and see all the sessions at once. After a week, if you want to keep your membership, you can either pay $10.99 a month or pay $59.99 yearly. For context, Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month.
Going forward, I don’t think I’ll be using Humm.ly regularly, but I’ll keep it on my phone in case I want to switch up my anxiety coping methods or need help getting through the work day. And I won’t be renewing my premium membership when the free trial runs out because well, the app’s features can still be accessed without it. I’ll be practicing mindfulness, getting rewarded, and hopefully feeling encouraged to maintain a routine while I rack up those honey points.