Chase Elliott Clark

Calm: Revolutionizing Mindfulness with Text-Based Activities

Microdosing mindfulness

What do you do if you're a meditation app and most people don't want to meditate?

🤔 Problem

Calm identified a significant gap in its offerings for users seeking alternatives to meditation for stress and anxiety relief. Recognizing the opportunity to serve this demographic, the project aimed to validate concepts that could deliver tangible value to users acutely responding to stress and anxiety.

🎯 Mission

To empower millions globally to manage their stress and anxiety more effectively, establishing Calm as the preferred choice for immediate relief.

🎉 Vision

The initiative aspired to create a suite of innovative, simple-yet-magical solutions that could be easily accessed and used by anyone, anywhere, any time, akin to designing a "Sleep Story" for stress and anxiety.

🧢 My role

UX Research lead, brainstorm facilitator, design collaboration

The Challenge

meditation blockers

Calm faced the challenge of addressing the needs of users who were either meditation-averse or found traditional meditation daunting. Our objective was to design a solution that bypassed common barriers to meditation, such as time commitment, motivation, privacy concerns, and the need for a quiet space.

Process and Development

user testing

The project followed a strategic process of Understand -> Ideate -> Prototype -> Decide, leading to the development of the text-based activities concept. This approach involved:

Understanding User Needs
Through research, the team identified that a significant segment of Calm's user base was seeking more accessible and less time-consuming methods to relieve stress and anxiety, and where also not ready or willing to meditate.

Leveraging insights from user research, the team brainstormed a range of solutions, ultimately focusing on text-based activities as a novel approach to "microdosing mindfulness."

Prototyping and User Testing
The prototype for text-based activities was developed and tested, showing promising results in providing immediate relief from stress and anxiety. The activities were designed to be intuitive, reassuring, and easily accessible, removing many of the barriers associated with traditional meditation practices.

Impact and Outcomes

meditation blockers

The text-based activities prototype significantly impacted stress and anxiety levels among users, outperforming other tested concepts in effectiveness and user demand for beta access. This success demonstrated the potential of text-based solutions to deliver meditation and mindfulness practices to a broader audience, including those who are meditation-averse.

User Feedback and Future Directions

live version

Feedback from users highlighted the value of having a quick, easy, and guided solution for stress and anxiety relief. The project's success has paved the way for expanding the concept into other areas, including gratitude activities, thought exercises, and potentially a non-audio version of Sleep Stories. The scalable nature of the text-based format allows for rapid iteration and adaptation to user needs.

After a successful round of A/B testing the team rolled out, what we are now externally calling "Taptivities" to all users. This has also lead the team to prioritize designing and building a host of new non-audio mindfulness solutions that our user base loves.


The development of text-based activities for stress and anxiety relief represents a significant innovation in the mindfulness and meditation space. By removing barriers to traditional meditation practices, Calm has positioned itself to meet the needs of a wider audience, reinforcing its mission to improve global mental health. The project's outcomes indicate a promising direction for future development, with potential applications across various aspects of wellness and self-care.