Wright-Patterson participates in 90-day health and well-being pilot program
Dayton Daily News March 11, 2022
(Tribune News Service) — Sign up for a science-backed, mental well-being app and bring more balance to your everyday life. Best of all? It’s free.
For 90 days, all Wright-Patterson Air Force Base personnel and two of their adult family members can explore the Headspace app’s premium features at no cost. This includes active duty, civilians, contractors, Reserve and Guard members.
“It’s an exciting opportunity,” Dr. Tom Tirey, WPAFB’s violence prevention integrator, told participants during an informational Zoom meeting March 2.
Wright-Patt is one of two installations selected to participate in a Headspace app pilot program, which started Feb. 28. Tirey says Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, where he was stationed for three years, is the other site.
The Air Force and Headspace had previously conducted a small, controlled study with a 1,500-person unit, as leaders “sought to help members better manage the inevitable challenges of military service,” Tirey said.
App users reported a significant reduction in stress, improvement in emotional well-being and increased efficiency in managing work tasks. Several other benefits were also highlighted.
The Air Force concluded a much larger, 90-day study was needed to find a solution rooted in mindfulness and meditation, which could ultimately foster healthier employees and more productive teams.
The pilot program here has a hard-stop end date of May 30, Tirey said. Participants will be able to use the app’s free version, but premium access will be discontinued.
“You will receive a survey approximately 45 days after signing up,” he added. “This feedback is crucial, as it will impact how and if the Air Force moves forward with this resilience tool.”
Currently, Tirey said the Headspace app has 76 million members in 190 countries and is available in five different languages. It’s the “most well-known and most-respected” app of its kind, he added.
The app even showcases a Springfield native, singer John Legend, who serves as Headspace’s chief music officer.
Tirey praised Headspace as an app that helps you deal with daily stress and challenges. It includes “many facets,” such as guided and sleep meditation, along with breathing exercises.
“I fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves it plays,” he adds, noting Headspace offers different soothing sleep sounds to help people reach a deep slumber.
Users can also learn mindfulness skills from experts like former monk and Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe. Choose between three-minute sessions that fit seamlessly into a busy schedule or longer meditations to set your intentions for the day.
Undoubtedly, the “heaviest burdens we carry around with us daily are the thoughts in our head,” Tirey said.
“But we can train our brains to better manage our mental health,” he said.
Last year, Tirey added, calls to Wright-Patterson AFB’s Employee Assistance Program were up 168% as individuals experienced stress, relationship problems, anxiety, depression and self-esteem issues.
Headspace wants its members to learn how to relax, manage stress and focus their energy to become more centered, positive and well-rested.
Citing a recent study, Tirey said one Headspace session can reduce mind-wandering by 22%. The app has been involved in more than 75 research applications.
Download the Headspace app today, he urged, and be kind to your mind.
It’s easy to do: Scan the QR code with your cellphone camera. Within three days, you will receive an email with access instructions. Participants can also invite two family members older than 18 to join.
Use your Department of Defense identification number and a personal (not work) email address. Or enroll through https://headspace.jotform.com/220177802003948.
Tirey said names will not be used in the pilot program.
“This program is legitimate,” he added.
According to Headspace, the app’s features include:
—Practice daily meditation on a new topic each day with Everyday Headspace.
—Practice mindfulness with “Mindful Moments” to keep you present throughout the day.
—Track your progress and time spent meditating with Mindful Minutes on Apple Health.
—Create conditions for a more restful night with Sleep by Headspace.
—Switch off with sleepcasts — calming stories paired with relaxing sounds.
—Start your day inspired with The Wake Up — a short, daily video series made to brighten your day.
Stress relief and coping meditations
—”SOS” sessions for moments of panic, anxiety and stress.
—Build your resilience with the Weathering the Storm collection.
Find focus and build productivity
—Improve your focus with meditations for working from home.
—Boost your concentration and productivity with focus-enhancing music.
Centered fitness and tension release
—Mood-boosting and motivating at-home workouts
—Centered fitness courses: 28 days of mindful fitness and cardio.
—Train with Olympians Kim Glass and Leon Taylo
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