Headspace is meditation made simple. Learn online, when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day.
Mindfulness has been a part of my life for the last 3 years in the form of Dual N-Back brain training and emWave2 practice. I kept hearing that the best tool for learning meditation was Headspace; this is a guided meditation practice, so there's this guy, with a very soothing English accent who talks you through the meditation process.
If that sounds a little weird, well it is, but only for about the first 3 minutes of your first mediation session. After that it's really very mesmerizing.
The most unexpected positive of meditation is that I feel really awesome after using Headspace and I didn't realize how crappy I felt that after a day of sitting in front of the computer solving complex problems. Also...
- Meditation made me better at Lumosity brain training
- I much better at doing my 60 seconds of gratitude
- It's actually helped me with approach anxiety
I'll be having a busy day, and I'll think that I can't quite fit 10 or 20 minutes of meditation in but I'll use the App and I'm always so glad I did because I feel so great and focused afterward.
I always thought you needed a really quite, tranquil place to do meditation, you don't.
- I've done meditation in my room with a big window next to a busy, loud street, I've got roommates doing stuff in the other part of the house, music playing somewhere but I'm still able to have a pretty good meditation session.
- I've done it on bean bags next to kids playing videogames.
- I've do mediation on trains and planes.
- While lying in hostel dorm beds.
- I've even done it while on dates!
You can keep returning to the Take-10 series, if you aren't ready to spend money. I've actually used the free version for over 50 mediation sessions now. I will update this review when I start exploring the paid version.
I lay down on a bed and kind of just dangle my legs off it while I do, I find this position much more tranquilizing than sitting up or on the floor with back against a wall as a lot of people prefer.
It's free and awesome, there's really no reason not to check it out.
I did upgrade to the paid version of Headspace. They were offering a 3 month membership at a steep discount and I thought why not?
The paid membership opens up a bunch of different modules which delve into different modalities of meditation and mindfulness methods.
I did the creativity, focus and happiness modules
The creativity module teaches you this fractionation technique where you focus your attention but then let your mind run and think about whatever, which is supposed to make you more creative.
The happiness module focused on a gratitude exercise and focusing in on the emotions of gratitude.
The focus module entailed an exercise of focusing on different parts of the body.
In general meditation has been great for my focus and happiness, but these Headspace modules have really not made me anymore creative, focus or happy.
Headspace is great training wheels for learning meditation but it's not what's going to take me from being an intermediate meditator to a truly advanced one. The main utility of Headspace is guided meditation and after almost 3 years of meditation I've kind of figured out a meditation process that I really like and the guiding voice is distracting from what I want to focus on in my practice, which is...
Taoist breath counting
Blue Sky mode
The Cool Draw sex transmutation visualization
I find that when there's no little voice in my ear buds and I'm truly alone with myself for 20 minutes; I can go deeper and it's more of an intensive focus exercise.
There's a less feature rich yet free meditation app called Insight Timer that I've used extensively and it's quiet good:
Most importantly it's a simple meditation timer with a couple different settings for intervals and sounds.
It has a library of guided meditation sessions, it's worth trying a couple of these.
It has some light social network features that show how many other people are meditating simultaneously. I found these unnecessary though and turned off notifications.
To be honest I got way more value out of Headspace's free Take-10 course, it taught me to meditate and outlined the Blue Sky Protocol for me. I'll continue to recommend Headspace to those who are brand new to meditation but I'm going to take a break from guided practice. I did pay full price for 1 additional month and after this month I'll move on from Headspace.
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