A Week of Meditation: HEADSPACE
On first glance the Headspace app is colourful and fun in appearance. As someone who struggles with sitting still and trying not to think, my first impression of the app put me at ease. Flicking through the different options, the app seems really easy to use and pretty straightforward. There are loads of free taster session for mindfulness ‘packs’ to choose from ranging from managing anxiety, self-esteem and then just basics. I’m definitely starting with the basics.
The first pack you come across in the app is the basics consisting of ten sessions. Starting off with session one, the introduction includes an initial mini guide followed by an introductory animation that talks about where best to fit these sessions into your routine. Although a little cutesy the animation is actually a pretty fun relaxed introduction...and most importantly its only a minute long. I then chose the length of my session, the options were three, five or ten minutes. Although three was very tempting I went for a happy medium and picked five minutes...not too scary, not too easy. Although I found it pretty difficult to focus during the meditation I did feel more relaxed when I opened my eyes again. Five minutes didn’t feel long enough for me to settle into the meditation so I will try longer tomorrow.
I struggled to fit in the time today as I was up early and busy until late at night. So today’s session felt a little more forced and stressful just before bed. I went for basic’s session 2 and did ten minutes. I found it difficult to concentrate and definitely felt like it didn’t work well for me doing it at night when I was tired and trying to wind down.
So today I started early in the morning before work which was a lot more helpful. I decided to try a different session so I picked session 1 of the managing anxiety ‘pack’. The session started with a brief intro about anxiety which talked about ‘being at ease with anxiety’ rather than trying to forcibly change it. I liked the relaxed approach of the session and felt like the session was a good balance of talking and silence.
Today I began in the morning again as this definitely works better for me. I always feel like I don’t have enough time but I made sure I took time before I headed to work. This morning I tried the self- esteem pack. The mediation began with an explanation of the technique used called noting. The focus of this session was to step back and give yourself some perspective over your thoughts. Rather than trying to change your thoughts from ‘bad’ to ‘good’, the session focused on recognising thoughts as thoughts and labelling each distraction as thinking or feeling. I really enjoyed this session, I felt like the guide was really helpful and I definitely felt more relaxed after...even if it only lasted for a few minutes.
I struggled to find time today as I overslept so ended up doing my meditation after work late in the evening. I started with session 2 of the self-esteem pack but I found it really tricky to concentrate and gave up halfway through!
Today went a little better than yesterday although I still found it hard to get into the flow of the
session. I definitely noticed that trying to stick with the same time everyday works so much better for me...and leaving meditation until the end of the day doesn’t help. This morning I tried the letting go of stress pack. The technique today was visualisation; which I took to mean picturing yourself in a safe/calming place. I find the animation’s at the beginning of the mediations really useful in just making you feel more at ease and relaxed.
For my last session I tried the prioritisation pack, something I definitely need to work on. This pack focused on a technique called focused attention. It definitely felt easier to engage with the
meditation today and I actually enjoyed taking the time out to be still and quiet. The pack focused on the breath as a way to pull your attention back to yourself rather than on any outside distractions. I found it really useful to focus on my breathing and definitely felt more calm at the end of the session.
After the 7 days of headspace I enjoyed the experience overall. I definitely feel like it could be helpful long-term. I found the Headspace app really easy to use and loved that the focus was on training the brain in a practical way. Each session was about taking just ten minutes to actually notice how you were feeling, taking time to be quiet and focus on what was happening then and there. I also loved the colourful design of the app, and the use of animations to explain a technique. It made mindfulness feel accessible and simple rather than something for a zen master with a lot of time on their hands. It’s definitely something I will continue and feel like it could be really beneficial in creating and overall sense of calm long term.
I would give the app a nine out of ten, with my only issue being the price of a subscription at £9.99 being a bit high.