Keep Calm and Delete “Calm”


1/5 stars

Let me preface this by saying that I have never in my life tried any sort of anti-anxiety techniques, let alone an app for it. The closest I have probably gotten is a brief stint with meditation, but it just didn’t work for me.

My first impression when I downloaded the Calm app was that it indeed looked very calming visually; it is a cool gradient blue, and when you launch the app, the loading screen displays the message “take a deep breath”. The homepage is a neat little visual of a mountain surrounded by the lake, the water rippling and the synthetic birds singing.

Displayed at the top of the home page is a button titled “Daily Calm,” and when pressed, it prompts you to sign up for some sort of premium version of the app, which I did not do.

At the bottom of the screen, there are five icons you can press: home, sleep, meditate, music and masterclass. The sleep icon loaded a page full of “sleep stories,” but most of them required the premium version of the app, except one.

Meditate brings up a page with various soothing pictures titled different things. There seems to be a series called “7 Days of…,” such as “7 Days of Calm” or “7 Days of Focus.” When opened, these links pulled up a series of 10 minute long speeches, one for each day of the week. However, only the first one is free, the rest being Calm Premium benefits.

The music tab brought up various playlists labeled different things like “Milky Way: Sleep” and “Preserve: Relax.” All of the playlists are only available for premium members.

Masterclass brings up “exclusive classes from world-renowned mindfulness experts.” When I clicked on one called “Discovering Happiness by Shawn Achor,” I was not allowed to access it, due to it being a premium benefit.

There seems to be a theme: Calm wants you to pay for their services. It’s a paid app disguised as a free one, and there wasn’t much that I could access without having to pay. In fact, I could pretty much only access one sleep story and the first talk of the “7 Days of…” series.

I can’t say much about this app. After all, I was only able to have a little taste of all the things offered. But if you like to listen to ASMR, you might enjoy the sleep stories. Personally, I leave my phone in my kitchen before heading to sleep, so I can’t say much about it. I also don’t enjoy podcasts too much, so I didn’t enjoy the talks they offered.

In all, this app does absolutely nothing useful. If you’re feeling stressed, try disconnecting yourself from electronics, or taking a walk. Both of those options are better than downloading Calm.

Story by Ponette Kim

Photo courtesy of Pixabay