Meditation is an ancient practice used for a multitude of different reasons, but for most it’s an act of relaxation. It’s no surprise, then, that in the fast paced world we currently live in, meditation has taken on a new level of popularity. Giving its users a much-needed break from smartphones, games, and television, Headspace teaches you a particular form of meditation: mindfulness. Whether it’s something you feel you need or not, the benefits far outweigh the ten minutes it takes out of your day.
‘Meditation Made Simple’ is Headspace’s selling point, and refers to the ease at which you can plug your headphones in to your device, press a play button, and be directed by the app’s creator, Andy Puddicombe. Each ten minute session begins with Puddicombe calming your mind, directing your breathing, and bringing you into a state of mindfulness. Once relaxation is achieved, his voice will regularly explain what you need to be concentrating on: different parts of your body, how your breathing feels, the sounds you can hear outside. Towards the end of the session you’ll be free to think about anything you like, allowing your thoughts to travel as far away from meditation as possible. That is, until you need to concentrate again during the final minute. In the same way that a ten minute run trains your body to be fitter, Headspace teaches your brain to be more mindful.
There are other forms of mediation that Headspace teaches, all of which come at a cost. Health, Brave, Happiness, Work and Performance, and Sport will all be relevant to different people in their own frames of mind, and will give users unique ways of dealing with their issues. However many types of meditation you try, though, Headspace will provide you with stats and your journey. Stats include the total time meditated, sessions completed, and the average duration, whereas Journey lays every session on a timeline. Both can be used to create either a sense of achievement for keeping up-to-date with your sessions, or guilt for not.
The ten minutes you assign to Headspace will be some of the best spent of the day. It can feel alien at first: taking time away from work, watching TV, or staring at a smartphone to sit still and silent. You come to realise soon, though, how essential that escapism is, and how impactful the stresses from the aforementioned hobbies and jobs can be on our lives. It helps that Puddicombe has a therapeutic voice, slowly easing you into the idea of meditation and mindfulness. Yet, after several sessions, you’ll become relaxed enough that you hardly even recognise his voice at all, and instead are focused solely on your breathing, the feeling of your body, or the sounds around you. It’s frustrating that the majority of the app requires payment to be unlocked, but that’s part and parcel with a service like this. Plus, treat the free sessions as practice and you’ll likely be well-prepared to attempt it alone.
There’s no overstating how important therapy like this can be. Most of us concentrate only on our physical bodies, when our mental selves require as much, if not more, attention. Hopefully, with Headspace being free at trial, more people can understand the power of mindfulness, and of taking a step back from our everyday lives.
|Relaxing. Calming. Improved cognitive abvility||Requires daily effort.|