Disclosure: I received free access to this app in order to review it. All the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Sometimes I wish I could turn my brain off, or at least press ‘pause’. Being a thinker has served me well in life, but possessing an active mind can also lend to high stress levels, and poor-quality sleep – neither of which improve health and wellbeing.
When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I review the day’s events, and ponder what I hope to accomplish the next day. But even after jotting important things down my bedside-table notepad, my mind continues to race, with sleep eluding me. Then the vicious cycle of worrying about the remaining hours of rest available exacerbates the sleeplessness!
Friends suggested meditation, but just clearing my mind in order to find my “zen” proves challenging – thoughts always creep back in while I’m counting or humming, and I end up making to-do lists in my head, instead.
When I learned the app Headspace teaches users to clear our minds, I felt encouraged. Square one was exactly where I needed to start!
A guided meditation app, I uploaded Headspace (available for iOS and Android devices at Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon) onto my phone and watched the introduction video. Headspace advertises itself as a “gym membership for the mind”, and indeed, just like a gym, there are subscription costs to the specialty packs beyond its free ‘Take 10′ program ($13/month or $96/year). But like a gym membership, if I actually use it, I view the cost as an investment rather than an expense.
Andy Puddicombe, Headspace’s meditation guide, coached me – step-by-step. From how I positioned myself, to how I breathed, to what I thought, Andy guided me, soothingly, into a clearer headspace. I immediately felt supported and inspired to become happier and healthier in only a few minutes a day.
As suggested, I found a comfortable, quiet place in my home where I’d not be interrupted for 10 minutes each morning, resolving to start each and every day that way. Within the first 10 days (the “Foundation”) I began to appreciate and look forward to that quiet time each morning.
Though the reviews I’d read said many users felt less stressed almost right away, that didn’t happen for me during the Foundation. I’d heard that with meditation, consistency and commitment prove key, so I looked through the various “packs” to target my specific concern (Headspace offers help for anything from Health [pain management, stress, etc.], Happiness [self-esteem, relationships, etc.], to Work & Performance [focus, balance, etc.], and beyond). I chose ‘Sleep’, knowing I wasn’t stressed because I was anxious about something, I was stressed because I couldn’t sleep!
After each of the 30 Sleep sessions, my days improved, as did my nights. By the end of the 30 days, I was falling asleep faster, and enjoying a more restful sleep. Moreover, I found that during the day, I felt calmer and happier. Was it because I was finally enjoying 7.5 hours of uninterrupted, sweet slumber? Or was it because my morning routine of 10 minutes of focused breathing and clear headspace set the tone for the day? I don’t know. But I appreciate the daily reminder to slow down and be mindfully in control of my thoughts.
Featured image photo credit: microgen/Thinkstock