A Conscious Start Up
MindPanda is an exciting new Scottish start up, with the goal of helping people of all ages to enjoy better mental health and greater emotional awareness, by practicing mindfulness in their daily lives.
The high growth Glasgow-based start up was launched in 2018, and within a short space of time, they have already attracted over 20,000 users, as they set their sights on a global audience.
MindPanda came into being, following from the founder, Ian Millar’s appreciation of mindfulness and meditation practice in his daily life. While he understood its benefits and valued the difference it could make, he also recognised that integrating mindfulness into the lives of a busy family was another question. With busy lives every day, either at work and school, cultivating a regular habit of mindful living was far more challenging to stick to.
Looking for solutions to address this, he knew that another app was unlikely to help.
The mindfulness community has grown rapidly across the world in recent years, with hundreds of apps, instructors and courses available at the touch of a button. But while mindfulness can be an enormously beneficial practice, it’s much harder to cultivate appreciation for the present moment by relying on apps and smart phones to access it.
As practical as they are, smartphones and mobile devices are also one of the biggest causes of stress and distraction in most people’s lives, and completely counter-productive to mindful practice.
While users might enjoy the feeling of a calming ten minute guided meditation through a smart phone, the storm of notifications and alerts that follow afterwards can undo all that hard work. It’s also far more challenging for users to stick to a mindfulness practice, when there are countless distractions just a swipe of the screen away.
MindPanda aim to address this contradiction by providing customers with a truly mindful experience, when using their products. Through simple tools, guides and products, they help customers to develop the practical knowledge they need to build the skills of mindful living into their daily lives, delivered through a distraction-free environment.
In March 2017, they created their first product, designed to help carry a little mindfulness to work or school, to remind users to stay present and grateful, with a simple and practical solution: Mindfulness Stress balls.
Stress balls have always been an effective fidget toy to help release stress and anxiety, but by looking at them through the lens of mindfulness, MindPanda added a little extra touch. Created in packs of three, entitled mindfulness, positivity and gratitude, these simple but effective balls provide a physical reminder to return to these qualities, and can be used anywhere. They are combined with aromatherapy, infusing each ball with its own scent. By engaging all the senses, the balls can help bring the user’s attention back to the present moment. They can be taken to work, kept in the car, or at home, for a helpful reminder to breathe and be present, practice gratitude and stay positive.
MindPanda have also focused their attention on the development of effective mindfulness programmes for younger people, and across schools. With the rise of mental health issues amongst the younger generation, the start up developed a mindfulness pack, with this audience in mind.
Currently, schools across the UK are making huge movements towards promoting mindfulness in class. Schools will often pay upwards of £200 for an in-person visitor to provide a talk to students, and guide teachers through exercises.
MindPanda’s mindfulness pack is designed to simplify this, by helping teachers to learn whilst teaching. The pack guides both teachers and students through a month of different mindfulness exercises, broken down into 10 minute daily exercises, that help to build a powerful and lasting positive habit. The pack also offers a wide range of different exercises, so that they can choose what works best.
MindPanda have donated free sets to over 200 schools across UK and the US. They also supply free resources to schools to help promote mindfulness in the classroom, such as mindful colouring PDFs, word search games, and other printable materials.
In their first 18 months, MindPanda have grown rapidly, with over 20,000 customers across the US and UK. The team has expanded to three employees, and they continue to help promote mindfulness in educational institutions, with a percentage of their profits towards mental health charities. The company is now looking at how they can bring the benefits of mindfulness to a wider audience.
The success of the brand has been recognised with numerous awards. In 2018 they were awarded the Young Scottish Edge Award for a successful start up. they were also part of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Accelerator Programme, Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway. The programmes gave the brand a solid foundation to grow the business, by connecting with mentors, influencers and investors, as well as providing legal and financial support.
The start up is continuing to grow and make a wider positive impact, and their goal is to help change the lives of over 100,000 people by 2020, with a variety of new products for both adults and children, in development.
In June 2019, MindPanda launched their latest product – a 30 Days of Mindfulness pack, designed to help people of all backgrounds to enjoy a variety of mindfulness exercises, and discover how they can bring the benefits of the practice into their lives in a simple and effective way. The pack is perfect for anyone who has come across meditation and mindfulness – and wanted to find a simpler and easier way to bring it into their lives as a regular activity.
Focusing on helping people to build a positive daily habit by practicing just 10 minutes a day, this pack helps people learn how to use mindfulness in a more practical, accessible and enjoyable way.
With the traction this young Scottish start up has had so far, we are looking forward to seeing the impact MindPanda will have on the mindfulness community in the years to come.
Author :- Elizabeth Frail
Originally posted from Mindfulness in Schools. Org
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