App of the week: Headspace
Posted on June 22, 2015
3 min read
When asked the question “do you meditate?”, I used to be ashamed to think I’d need it or would claim that it’s the stuff of hippies and has all the stereotypes of scented candles, herbal tea and vegans.
Breaking down this stigma was the reason Andy Puddicombe (a former monk) created the app “Headspace” to give millions of people a chance to experience the benefits of meditation without all the fluff.
What it is
Headspace has been described as a gym membership for the mind. It recognises that a lot of people have different reasons for wanting to be more “mindful”, whether it’s to do with improving focus, stress or balance at work; or improving our personal approach to relationships, exercise, sleeping or eating.
For this reason the app has a number of bite sized meditations guided by Andy to help you through whatever aspect of your own wellbeing that needs attention.
How it works
To get started, users create a membership via email or Facebook accounts and can then get a free 10 day course, requiring just 10 minutes each day to learn the basics of meditation. Members can buy time-limited subscriptions to access additional courses as an in-app purchase – check the app for packages. The app is available through the Apple App Store, Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.
Why it works for me
A Stanford study found that we average 60,000 thoughts per day, 90% of which are repetitive and the majority of these thoughts are often negative. This kind of gives some perspective to Einstein’s claim that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result! It was certainly the case for me as I often found myself becoming too caught up in my own thoughts to be effective during the day or switch off at night.
It was at a personal leadership course that I was first introduced to the concept of being more “mindful”, which led me to try the “Take 10” course after downloading the Headspace app – and I haven’t looked back since! After using Headspace I’ve found myself being more present in the moment and reduce the stress that often prevented me from focussing at work.
Of course these benefits have helped outside of the office – I still use Headspace to clear my mind before sleep most nights and earlier this year completed my first open water swim marathon. So yes it may sound cliché, but practicing a little mindfulness can change your life!
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