Let your mental health ‘Shine’


SELF-CARE NONPROFIT HELPS PEOPLE ‘SHINE’ — Screenshots of the Shine app. courtesy of Shine

SELF-CARE NONPROFIT HELPS PEOPLE ‘SHINE’ — Screenshots of the Shine app. courtesy of Shine

While working at DoSomething, a New York-based nonprofit for young people trying to create positive change, Naomi Hirabayashi met Marah Lidey, whose friendship and daily support blossomed. This inspired them to launch and co-found Shine, a self-care nonprofit, in 2016.

In 2014 Shine created a prototype for 50 people.

Later in 2016, it became a free text message for a couple of years “to help people get through the day,” Hirabayashi, a Yonsei, told the Nichi Bei Weekly during a phone interview. She added they launched the subscription-based model Shine app in 2018, available in the Apple app store for iPhone and Apple Watch devices and Google Play for Android device users.

Shine offers daily meditations, weekly self-care courses and library access to more than 1,000 meditations, Hirabayashi said.

After graduating from James Madison University, Hirabayashi worked in advertising in New York and continued her career at Attention, a boutique social media marketing agency in New York. This led her to DoSomething.

Identity is a key component of Shine. With Hirabayashi being a Japanese American woman and Lidey, a Black woman in America, “there’s so much about all of our identities that impacts how we experience the world and how the world sees us,” Hirabayashi explained.

Shine is for everyone, she said, adding, “It’s really important to elevate more historically marginalized voices.” Hirabayashi said the app’s team is 80% Black, Indigenous, people of color.

In June 2020 after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Shine produced new content bringing together important themes for the Black community, including “racial battle fatigue” and “generational trauma.”

Similarly, last February, Shine provided Asian American content due to the rise of anti-Asian hate amid the coronavirus pandemic. “We wanted to make sure we were sourcing and elevating AAPI voices in the community with content, meditations and community events, specific to Asian American experiences,” Hirabayashi said.

With the pandemic disrupting everyday life for nearly two years, Shine saw an uptick in organic growth of their app and de-stigmatization of conversations around mental health.

Hirabayashi said the nonprofit took surveys from their communities, which showed more people were having conversations about their mental health due to “shared experiences.” People switched from other meditation apps to Shine because “part of the origin story, part of the team and the whole content is more inclusive and representative,” Hirabayashi said.

Hundreds of companies contacted Shine in the summer of 2020 as employers wanted to “find more inclusive resources for their team and mental health,” Hirabayashi shared. In the first quarter of 2021, the nonprofit launched “Shine At Work,” which Hirabayashi says is “a way for companies to get an annual program for their employees that is rooted in (Acceptance Commitment Therapy) and mental health.” Psychology Today defines Acceptance Commitment Therapy as a “form of mindfulness based therapy, theorizing that greater well-being can be attained by overcoming negative thoughts and feelings.”

According to the nonprofit’s Website, “Shine will help your employees care for their mental health daily and teach them strategies for managing negative thoughts, stress and more at work.”

Shine also offers monthly virtual workshops with mental wellness experts, Hirabayashi said.

The holidays can be a stressful time for some people. Shine has several different holiday meditations, including “Handle Holiday Family Stress” and “Navigate Tough Conversations,” Hirabayashi said. The app also has “four new holiday-themed sleep meditations with festive visualization exercises like ‘A Fireplace Dream’ and ‘Rest Under the Northern Lights,’ designed to help you calm your mind before bed,” she added.

To learn more about the Shine app, visit http://ow.ly/VYVs50Hnj7B.

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