Hi everyone, happy 2018! I’m excited that my first post of the new year will be introducing my new series on mindfulness. Each month, I will introduce a new topic related to mindfulness, and discuss how it can help your daily life and overall mental health.
For my first mindfulness post of 2018, I wanted to do a review of the Headspace app, specifically the 10-day free mediation guide that is offered to new users. I started using this app in mid-December, so I feel like a month in is a good time to review it.
What is Headspace?
Headspace is a mindfulness app that teaches you how to meditate. Its aim is to “cultivate awareness and compassion so we can better understand both the mind and the world around us.”
10-Day Meditation Guide
The idea behind the ten-day introductory sessions is that you will log in to your account online or on the app once per day to spend ten minutes meditating. The sessions are guided, so if you don’t know how to get started, don’t worry! The narrator spends a good amount of time explaining that meditation isn’t about emptying your mind of all the thoughts you have racing back and forth, but of acknowledging them one at a time. If you have ever experienced feelings of anxiousness or worry, you know how out of control your mind and body can feel in those moments. Meditation is about training your mind and body to be in control during those moments.
The key to controlling your thoughts lies in learning how to control and monitor your breathing, as well as learning how to check in with your body both mentally and physically. How are you feeling now, and how did you feel today? Those are the kinds of rhetorical questions you will learn to start asking yourself as you reflect during your sessions.
The first couple of days and sessions are about learning how to meditate. I will admit it gets a little repetitive during days five through nine. I would have liked to see a little more variety in the exercises, but they are pretty much all just focused, measured breathing and reflection on thoughts and emotions. Sometimes there are little minute-long animated videos at the beginning of each session to illustrate the topic that will be discussed that day, and those are very helpful for anyone who, like me, is primarily a visual learner. Once you have completed the ten day introductory sessions, you will have meditated for one hundred minutes total, which is a huge accomplishment!
Packs, Subscriptions, etc.
The world of Headspace is vast, and because of that, you will need to get a subscription in order to have access to it. Some of the features that come with the monthly subscription include access to personalized meditation sessions on topics such as work, school, happiness, bravery, and health. There are meditation guides for waking up in the morning and for going to sleep at night; for when you are overwhelmed or flustered, and for unwinding when you are alone or to reset at the end of the day. If you can think of a time when you might need to meditate, chances are there is a pre-designed session just for that! There are even guides for children which I happen to think is pretty rad.
The only downside, which I am pretty disappointed by, is that you do have to pay to access all of this good stuff. At this moment, I have yet to sign up for a subscription (which starts at $7 per month) and it is unlikely that I will do so in the future. The reason for this is simply that there are so many free resources out on the web, or at your local library, which can help with meditation and I personally don’t think it’s something one should have to pay for. However, if you choose to, you will be getting a lot for your money.
The ten day starter guide was incredibly helpful to me, as I started using it right around the time I started my new job in December. I was feeling a little anxious about it, and the meditation sessions definitely helped me get through those first few days. For anyone interested in getting started in meditation but unsure of how to do it, starting with the Headspace app is a great way to do it.
What About You?
Have you used Headspace? Did you like it? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Don’t forget to follow my blog so you don’t miss out on my next mindfulness post in February!
P.S. If you are interested in hearing more about mindfulness and mental health, you might enjoy these two podcasts: Optimal Living Daily, which is a series of podcasts all about personal development, minimalism and productivity; and Let’s Talk About It a new podcast hosted by Taylor Nolan that delves into all things relationships, mental health and personal development.