Today’s post is inspired by a personal achievement: I hit my first 30-day run streak on the Headspace app. I’ve been using this app since October, but today marks the first time I have used it for 30 consecutive days. As you can see from the screenshot below, I’ve logged 80 sessions for a total of 19 hours of meditation.
I am not here to claim my life has miraculously changed since I started meditating, but I do feel a more profound calmness in my day to day life. It is a relief to take ten to twenty minutes each day for myself, to set aside all the distractions in my life, and look within.
Meditation is not about clearing the mind completely, as the Headspace app taught me. Instead, it is about breathing, sitting and doing nothing. I still have to push away some thoughts about things I need to do today, even after a couple months of practice, but I am not worried about them. I just acknowledge the interruptions and continue with my meditation.
There are many ways to meditate. You can try on your own to clear your mind or focus on being more mindful. There are countless books and YouTube guides, as well. I wanted something easy to access on my phone, so I downloaded a dozen or so free apps from the App Store (iOS). The one I’ve used most regularly is Headspace, but I kept inScape and Pacifica because they offer a few features or techniques that Headspace does not.
I have yet to pay a dime for the meditations. After I downloaded the Headspace app initially–and did the first week of meditations– I got an email from the company offering me a free three-month trial with unlimited access to the sessions in exchange for completing three surveys to add to their data collection. Definitely one of the better deals I’ve made in my life!
Headspace starts each user off with a “take 10” series during which you are guided through ten-minute meditations to get a feel of what Headspace is all about. There are 30 sessions altogether, broken up into 10 packs. Presumably, you can do one a day for a month, but I realized I sometimes like to meditate multiple times a day. I most often meditate in the mornings just after waking, usually before leaving bed. I sit up and close my eyes. I’m a morning person so I am not in danger of falling back asleep, but I could see why this would not be ideal for some other people.
After the introductory series, you have access to the whole Headspace library. There are meditations for health, relationships, anxiety, acceptance, balance, and plenty other equally worthy topics. The layout of the app is fairly intuitive and is inhabited by geometric shape characters. So cute!
The voice that guides each meditation is that of Andy Puddicomb. He is a remarkable guy! He’s a trained circus performer AND former Buddist monk. You can read more about him here and also watch his TED Talk.
In short, I recommend everyone try some sort of meditation in their day to day lives. Headspace is a great start. I know some people I’ve talked to about it think they don’t have time; I sincerely feel that I don’t have the time NOT to do it. I can find ten minutes of my every day to center my mind and I believe you can too!