Some background info – The creator of Headspace is Andy Puddicombe, a mindfulness and meditation expert who after abandoning his degree in sports science midway through ended up travelling to the Himalayas to study meditation and was then ordained as a Buddhist monk in Northern India.
I started the Headspace App after hearing about how a friend had practised mindfulness on the lead up to his wedding day and how he hoped the techniques would help him to stay calm at the altar! Months later it popped up on a feed and I remembered him saying this and thought I would give it a go. The app offers 10 free 10 minute sessions along with animations and videos on an introduction to mindfulness and how it can help you in various areas of your life from sleeping better to less stress and just feeling more in control. The idea is to do one a day for 10 days, at the start I dipped in and out so this first section took me over 2 weeks. I think this was a combination of it being something new, a bit of a novelty that I could use as and when I felt I needed to and just not making time to fit it around plans.
Once I really got going with it I started to really look forward to just sitting down for 10 minutes and taking some time for me! I know most of us sit down every evening but there really is a difference to sitting scrolling through your phone for hours and sitting, just sitting and concentrating on yourself and how you are feeling for just 10 minutes. I would sit with my headphones in or if Scott was out I would play it out loud and listen to the guided session. It really is amazing how different you can feel before and after something like this. I’ve never done anything like this before and the feeling I mostly felt after the sessions had finished was just calm. I felt so relaxed at times I could almost fall asleep but others I just felt good about myself.
So once you finish the 10 free sessions you have to subscribe. I chose to pay monthly and can cancel this anytime by emailing the Headspace team. I don’t know how long I will carry this on for but for now I’m really enjoying it so I decided it was worth it for the small amount you pay every month.
The next step is to find your way around the app, there are sections on relationships, change, stress, anxiety and sleep along with SOS buttons if you have a complete meltdown and need help with how to deal with it.
The recommended path is to continue with Take 10 – level 2 which I did. During this section Andy uses several videos to try and explain the mind. One being that to be mindful you just have to sit on the side of the road and watch the traffic- the traffic being your thoughts. You aren’t running around trying to stop the traffic, because there is a lot of it and you can’t stop it all, you just have to sit there and watch it. The cars in the animation have things like, bills, money, relationships and work written on them. I found this pretty helpful as at first to sit there and try and block everything out was not an easy task, but that isn’t the idea. The idea is to let these things come and go in your mind, ie remember what you need to pick up while shopping tomorrow and then get back to relaxing and thinking about how you are feeling.
So the app is quite good at inspiring you to come back each day with a tracker to tell you how many days you have done in a row and how many hours in total you have completed. It also tells you how many other people are using the app at this time, which if you believe it is a lot of people!!
I’ve now moved on to my next section which is on Change. This is probably the main reason I started doing this in the first place. I’m not very good at dealing with sudden change of plans, change in routine, circumstances, at work, anything like that really and unfortunately Scott usually gets the brunt of it. So I started this to try and learn to deal with sudden changes better, to try and not let things bother me as much as they usually would do and not still be talking about them 4 hours later. Since really getting into this I feel like I am much calmer, a couple of things have happened where I would usually have a mini meltdown- nothing major I just get stressed about the smallest of things sometimes and it can ruin an entire evening or a good couple of hours at least- and I’ve managed to deal with them much better with a lot less effort and no meltdown!
Today on my first session about change I heard something which made me think ‘yes, this is what I came here for, this is what I need help with’
“The more we can remind ourselves that change is happening all the time in ourselves, other people and the world the more we can let go of that grip of life and our sense of control.”
This is a pretty big thing for me to write this all down because it’s not public knowledge that I occasionally lose it over the tiniest of things and only a couple of people know I’ve been using Headspace but I decided I wanted to write it to try and help anyone else who is struggling to find time for themselves, to deal with change, having trouble sleeping or just wants to try something different to try and relax. I hope anyone reading has found this helpful and ill do another update once I get further along in the app.
Thanks for reading