My MindWander Review
A digital community for mental health support
MindWander is an online community for women who want to learn mental health skills and strategies typically covered in psychotherapy. The membership gives you access to the community plus digital courses that cover topics like anxiety, worry, mindfulness, and gratitude. Led by a clinical psychologist with over a decade of clinical experience, MindWander offers a safe space to share and support each other’s self-care journey.
I really enjoyed MindWander’s monthly subscription boxes right up until they stopped and pivoted to the current digital model. This monthly membership ups the ante on community building and social support. My primary interest, though, is the digital courses: does the digital subscription deliver on its mental health skill-building claims?
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The Subscription: MindWander
The Cost: $4.99 per month for the digital membership. $8.99 for each digital course.
What You Get: Access to a private online community focused on improving self-care. Every month features a digital course around a specific self-care topic.
My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Pros & Cons
The membership plan:
Your membership gives you access to our community as well as a library of online courses. Each month a new course will be introduced as our featured course. At the end of the month the course will be archived for 5 months (each course will be available for a total of 6 months). When you purchase your membership, you will place your card information in the system. Your membership will automatically renew each month. If your card is expired or declined, you will have a one week grace period. After the 7 days, you will lose access to website. If you want to regain access at any point in the future, you will need to purchase a new plan and update your card.
One-time course purchases:
One-time payments provide you with access for the lifetime of MindWander, so long as you remain a member. Payments are non-refundable. You authorize Mighty Networks to send instructions to the financial institution that issued your card to take payments from your card account in accordance with the terms of your agreement with us. You can see all of your purchases in Settings > Your Purchases.
The sign up process is easy peasy. There is only one plan: the monthly membership. Before committing, you can view a quick introduction from the founder, Sarah Kertz. Sarah is a Harvard-trained clinical psychologist who has conducted research on anxiety, OCD, and depression. She is also a practicing therapist! In her own words:
MindWander brings together women who want to work together and lift each other up while developing CBT skills for dealing with anxiety and depression and boosting happiness and overall well-being. Community is incredibly powerful! Learning is supercharged when we can share each other's stories and work together toward a common goal.
Now, MindWander is hosted on a website builder and platform called Mighty Networks. To access MindWander you will need to create a Mighty Networks account first. What’s great is that you can get access to the community through a web browser or through the user-friendly Mighty Networks app. I appreciate having several options here.
Don’t forget that you get to try out the membership free for 3 days before purchase. If you tend to forget about free trial periods like me, fear not: MindWander sends a convenient email at the end of the trial period reminding you of this fact.
Once you’re fully signed up and logged in, you have the option to purchase digital courses that focus on specific self-care topics. Think of the courses as a la carte to your membership. You can choose to purchase any or all of them at any time from the “Courses” tab in the menu bar. I purchased the Donut Worry course because reducing everyday worry is something I really want to work on.
My MindWander Review
As part of my basic membership, I get access to the community network, articles, posts, and worksheets on monthly self-care topics. I also get to connect with the other hundred or so women through discussion posts that feel akin to Facebook groups or online forums.
The website is organized in a somewhat Facebook-esque fashion. The home page is my Activity Feed, which shows me the latest activity from MindWander members and from moderators like Sarah. It’s easy for me to filter for posts that I’m interested in by selecting and deselecting tags.
The “Topics” tab identifies discussions organized into certain topics like Tips to Manage Worry, Boosting Happiness, Stress Less, Physical Health, and Mindfulness. I love visiting the Boosting Happiness posts because I enjoy reveling in fellow members’ lighthearted banter, positivity, and silly animal memes.
A few other tabs are less frequently used, making the navigation bar feel a bit cluttered. The “Events” tab, a place to view upcoming community events, was empty. The “Interests” tab was uneventful for me as well. For context, when setting up your member profile, you can select an interest or hobby to display next to your name whenever you make a comment or post. I selected Games as my interest (I could only select one, weirdly enough). There was only one other member who shared the same interest as me. Ultimately, this interest tagging aspect did not add to how I interacted with other members.
Lastly, the “Groups” tab felt bare bones. It housed smaller break-out groups where members could get nitty-gritty about a specific topic. I felt confused about the Inception-like vibe of this tab. MindWander is already a private community, so is there a need to join a group-within-a-group? What sets Groups apart from the Topics tab? Hmm.
Donut Worry Course
The shining jewel that drew me to MindWander was its digital courses. As a clinical psychology student, I wanted to see for myself how the skills and strategies usually taught in therapy can be delivered in an informal, online, group setting.
The course I purchased, Donut Worry, is a 4-part lesson on understanding worry, getting control of your worry, and using strategies to reduce worry. The lessons are meant to be perused over 4 weeks, but the content can easily be digested in a single sitting. However, if you follow along to each lesson and participate in the practice activities, it’s in your interest to take your time.
The course also includes downloadable PDFs of a fillable worksheet packet, 30-day journal prompts, and a worry habit tracker, expertly crafted to help you hone those worry-reduction skills you learn each week. All in all, the course materials are comprehensive and shrewdly designed to facilitate maximum learning.
I generally struggle with worry and overthinking, so I dove straight into the lessons hoping to gain some insight into how I can reduce worry and improve self-care. One of the most helpful lessons was on how to identify worry spirals. The worksheets guided me to get more aware of my common triggers for worry as well as signs and symptoms of worry episodes.
Another wonderful lesson taught me the technique of scheduling “worry time” into my day to gain control of my worry. The idea is to set a 15- to 30-minute worry time at the same time, same place, every day. Sounds counterintuitive, am I right? It actually has scientific merit, though. The strategy behind it is called “stimulus control.” It’s a process of breaking the association between the environments that constantly act as triggers for worry. By limiting my worrying to just one time of day and just one place, I can then start to break the association between those triggers for worry. Clever stuff.
Included in the course is a list of 30 worry-related journal prompts designed to encourage self-reflection. I found that responding to journal prompts was a soothing and relaxing exercise. It helped me focus my attention toward my motivation to change my worry habits. The prompts also allowed me to look inward, to see if worrying was something I really wanted and needed to change (answer: it was).
Overall, I learned so much from the Donut Worry course! Never once did going through the lessons or practicing a skill feel like a chore.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder— well, I think this is true for value as well. With MindWander, my subscription is totally digital and my content intangible, making it difficult to pinpoint an objective value. If anything, you get as much out of MindWander as you desire.
A monthly MindWander membership costs $4.99. Their a la carte self-care courses are $8.99 each. As someone who uses social networks sparingly, I didn’t fully integrate myself into the community, so much of the value was lost on me. However, I would totally pay the listed price for Sarah’s digital courses. Her step-by-step lessons on reducing worry was exactly the type of skills I needed to help me get through some of my recent stressors.
I went into my MindWander membership expecting a stripped-down version of their old monthly subscription box. I was wrong! The community feel was that of an intimate Facebook Group with like-minded people. The digital courses were polished and well written, and the downloadable PDFs was icing on the cake. I had a great time navigating the discussion feed and absorbing positive vibes from community members. Here are my main takeaways:
- First, MindWander is for the person who wants a caring and encouraging community to guide her toward her self-care goals. Like any digital community, active engagement with its members fosters connection, camaraderie, and growth. Much of the value comes from the intimate community that Sarah and her members have built. I’m usually a lurker on social networks, preferring to read and absorb rather than post and disclose. If I had participated more on discussion threads, it would have helped solidify some of the ideas I learned from my Donut Worry course. I’m not saying you won’t get any value if you do not participate. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. However, MindWander truly shines when you engage with your fellow members.
- Second, MindWander is for the self-motivated and for those who want to be motivated. In this regard, it’s a bit like therapy—you get out of it what you put in. It takes a certain level of motivation to seek help through therapy, just like it takes motivation to work through a month-long digital course on self-care. In therapy, you have your therapist to support you and hold you accountable. In a community like MindWander, the members are your support and accountability partners. This is especially helpful when you have a community who’s got your back when your own motivation wanes.
The MindWander community is perfect for someone who enjoys the above and wants to learn therapy-based skills to improve their mental health. For $14 a month (that’s $5 for a membership and $9 for a course), that’s a pretty nifty deal. Even if you’re not so keen on the social networking aspect, the self-care courses may still be a gamechanger.
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What are your thoughts on MindWander?