Full Headspace Mindfulness Meditation App Review
Full Headspace Mindfulness Meditation App Review
A Review by Luke Carter – Founder of Psychic121Readings.com
Note: No Affiliation – Just A Happy Headspace User
22nd February 2016
Note: There is a shorter version of this review available here.
This is a fairly long review, so please feel free to skip to any relevant parts. Although if you can, we feel there’s great benefit to reading this article in its entirety, to get the most out of it.
First – What is Mindfulness Meditation?
For those of you who don’t know, today, mindfulness is a big thing. It’s the idea that becoming more mindful – focusing on the present – can help the mind find a place of quiet calm – and with continual practice, one can train the brain to change its relationship with the “traffic” of the mind (the thoughts), and to be able to “watch” this traffic without getting too involved in the internal chatter that is behind most negative cycles.
These negative cycles are almost always present at the root of any form of stress, anxiety, panic, and basically anything to do with thinking too much – so becoming more mindful can help improve your life in lots of different ways, as well as in specific areas, where you may choose to direct this mindfulness towards specific goals you may have, such as to appreciate others more, to be able to focus more, sleep better etc.
How Mindfulness Meditation Works
Mindfulness meditation builds on the ancient meditation rituals of the Buddhist Monks; and who can argue that any one of them looks stressed! They are calm, grateful, and at peace with their body and mind. What a wonderful place to be – and through mindfulness we can achieve this too.
Mindfulness meditation has been clinically proven to produce significant physical changes in the brain, when practiced regularly (daily is best) for a small amount of time, from a few minutes to about 10-15-20 minutes on average, anything you can manage. The key is regularity.
The Science Behind Mindfulness Meditation
In essence however, brain scans have proven that the brain displays neuroplasticity, which means that when you practice certain things on a regular basis, such as mindfulness meditation – which calms the mind – the brain naturally builds more matter to enforce these pathways and good habits, so you can actually get better at relaxing, at focusing more, at being more creative etc., and also re-enforce more positive thinking patterns over anxiety and worry. The possibilities are endless.
Brains scans confirm that by practicing mindfulness meditation regularly, you can actually develop more neural strength in areas that are related to emotional control and tranquility, compared to areas that are related to fight or flight stress responses.
Therefore, over time the mind becomes better at naturally reacting less to intrusive or uncomfortable thoughts that may have previously got out of control. These are the same thoughts that are often the fuel behind anxiety, worry, depression, OCD and pretty much any other condition that feeds off cycles of negative overthinking.
Therefore specifically targeted mindfulness meditation exercises can be used to strengthen these neural pathways responsible for better focus, more relaxation, greater appreciation, improved creativity and more. Whatever your goals are for your mediation, it’s achievable by letting go, becoming more mindful and focusing more on the present.
Becoming more mindful opens the door to uncover the power of the mind in the moment, without getting bogged down as we mostly do in our busy lives these days.
When we are more mindful, we can direct this focus and awareness to work on the things that have got out of control because we’ve got caught up in distracting thoughts. We are creating new patterns – and the brain builds more networks around your practices, which then in turn helps us even more to enjoy life in the present moment.
This means that with regular mindfulness training, one can easily become a much more peaceful and appreciative person, and this strengthens the cycle even further – because positivity breeds more positivity, and you can then choose to widen your scope of improvement to other areas.
Mindfulness really is a fantastic way to become the master of your own destiny and to get the most out of your life, and to improve the relationships with those closest to you. You’ll be surprised at how your own energy affects others, and the way they treat you – even if they don’t mean it. Moods are contagious.
You’ll probably find it a fantastic treat too, to take some time out for yourself every day – it helps you to appreciate YOU more; and with more love for yourself, you can love others more too. A great deal we think for a few minutes of your time every day!
Headspace is an App available for iOS, Android and Amazon devices as well as online – developed by former Buddhist Monk Andy Puddicombe.
Headspace is a brilliantly thought out solution to people of all ages and walks of life, with one goal in common: releasing their inner potential to control their own power of mind and direct it to paths of inner peace, relaxation, and many other goals such as better focus, improved memory, more restful sleep, to conquer anxiety and depression, to appreciate the people and things in your life more, and to basically be at one with your body and mind, after which the potential is limitless.
How Headspace Works
Headspace walks you through the process of becoming more mindful, and making mindfulness a part of your everyday life. You only need a few minutes every day, and you can set the time according to your needs.
The most important thing is regularity, so the first thing you’ll encounter is the Foundation Pack, which seeks to provide you with a solid foundation to get used to meditation, and to provide you with tips and guidance on how to make the most of your meditation sessions.
After you have completed the 30-day Foundation Pack (split into 3 lots of 10 days – Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3), you can then progress to individually themed packs of meditation, geared up towards specific goals, which are grouped together under fitting categories.
You can also enjoy one-off meditations with the singles packs available, and also special SOS packs designed for a quick fix to calm you down in times of greater stress, which are really useful. Everything you complete is charted on your timeline, which is handy to look back on, and fills you with a good sense of achievement as well.
One theme in common is that whatever area you choose to work on within mindfulness meditation, and within the Headspace environment, your mind naturally gains a feeling of more space, and with more space you can build on all of the qualities you seek to improve on, to better your life and your relationships with the people you care about in your life.
Just pop over to Headspace.com to get started, or download the App using your Smartphone device.
My Experience with Headspace (Background On Myself First)
Firstly, here’s a brief background on myself, and my reasons for using Headspace.
I have Pure OCD, which means I have silent repetitive intrusive thoughts that play on my fears. This wreaks havoc in my daily life, and causes me to perform both physical and mental rituals to “cancel out” the perceived threat that the thoughts present.
I have always had OCD tendencies, but I have recently gone through situations that have created Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) conditions (self diagnosed on all fronts) – but none-the-less real. I know myself well, and knew that I could manage my recovery well. I always felt in control.
Please note: If you don’t feel in control, then you should always seek the advice of a professional in the field of mental health. Always obtain a professional diagnosis. It is important to receive the correct mental health support, in order to receive the best treatment available for you as an individual. This is really important.
In addition, I have had to deal with an extremely challenging set of events, at the same time as the double bereavement of my grandparents within close proximity of each other. Every stress seems to add power to the OCD, so it hasn’t been easy.
So, alongside psychotherapy / counselling, I have also been using Headspace to help me train my mind to react differently to these thoughts, which drive my stress, anxiety and OCD.
Ok, so that’s a lot of stuff to deal with, and I’m doing exceptionally well now, having tackled my issues straight on. I worked through my issues one by one, and built a more peaceful and relaxing life and lifestyle all round. It certainly wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth the efforts and persistence to recover – you do reap what you sew, and I’m stronger now.
I’ll just say at this point that none of this information is meant to replace professional medical or mental health advice. I was suffering from severe depression, anxiety, OCD stress, regular stress, Post Traumatic Stress and a whole lot more – and particularly if you are experiencing any forms of Suicidal Thoughts, then you should seek the advice of a qualified professional or Call the Samaritans Anonymously on: 116 123 (UK) and 116 123 (ROI), or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US on 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or look up the relevant number for your country. Talk to someone. People care about you, even strangers, and it’s never too late. Just talk.
How I Discovered Headspace
My experience of Headspace has been really positive. Initially I spoke to Caroline McGuigan, founder of the mental health charity Suicide or Survive, which is based in Ireland, (http://www.suicideorsurvive.ie).
They work locally and nationally, providing Mental Health Support, alongside developing an assortment of Wellness and Mindfulness programs, which aim to take the stress out of our daily lives before crisis.
Caroline was very supportive of my mental health issues, particularly surrounding the topics of depression and anxiety, being a highly experienced and acclaimed Psychotherapist.
One of the things Caroline made available to me was a code to access Headspace free of charge for 1 year through Headspace’s “Get Some Give Some” program. This program distributes free codes via charitable routes to those who could do with the support.
Headspace is free for the first 10 days anyway, and is very reasonably priced thereafter, and once you are an active user of Headspace you can earn your own free codes to give to their friends or family – or anyone that you feel could benefit, which is probably everyone!
The codes are available each time you reach a milestone number of consecutive days use of Headspace, such as after 1, 3, 6 months, 1 year etc. It’s definitely worth it, and sharing life-changing content is amazing.
As part of this program, I was asked if I could send my feedback to the charity, to forward on to Headspace, so I did. I have copied and adapted the email I sent for all of our readers, as I felt it could benefit many who may have been – or are – in the same boat.
I had heard of Headspace before, but didn’t have a real awareness of its long term diverse and specific benefits, so this time I made proper use of it – and let me tell you – everyone can benefit from a more peaceful mind; the effects of which are far reaching to almost every area of your life.
My Feedback On Headspace
I am currently on day 23 of the Headspace journey, and I am finding it very useful indeed (I have now completed more than 6 months of Headspace at the time of writing – every day – and it’s fantastic).
I have suspected Post Traumatic Stress from the double bereavements of my grandparents last year, and also suffer from OCD and generalised anxiety disorder(s).
I have meditated before, but having a set routine to follow has been extremely valuable. After all, I have found that in most cases persistence is the key to achievement.
What interested me initially was the scientific research, showing that with regular mindfulness meditation, one’s physical brain structure can begin to change and adapt, ultimately allowing you to experience less stress overall, so that you can find that essential time to relax and unwind.
With this extra space, you can then build the techniques of mindfulness into everyday life, so that you can always have this Headspace available when you need it, rewriting your reactions to any thoughts and feelings that may come up, that would otherwise cause negative spirals to occur.
That’s what I like the most – being able to re-train my thought patterns to actually avoid the stress, before it becomes an issue and takes over.
Abstract: Personally, I have experienced a fair amount of anxiety as a result of what I have been through, however I have found my own ways to rationalise all of this. At the same time, I have been also been going through 2 hard years of stress with work related issues, which has resulted in ongoing stress at a less than ideal time.
However, what Headspace does is allow you to just start off taking that bit of time out every day. The journey is such a great way to keep building on that time out, and also to help integrate it into your life, so that you can literally melt away stressful moments with the mindfulness that it brings.
So far… depression has improved dramatically. The stress is still there because of the nature of the problems (being sorted out soon), and I am far more able to keep my cool in times of stress than before – making me realise that actually, despite the feelings of depression previously, that mindfulness is a key – if done properly – to allow your mind the space it needs to unravel past traumas and other sources of depression.
I can honestly say that it looks like most of my depression was a result of too many stressors at one time, amongst obviously the traumas.
With a clear and calm mind, you are much much more able to start addressing the root causes of depression. A fantastic tool so far, acting as a catalyst with the right attitude, to increase one’s positive moments dramatically. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to try it out!
Also, the stresses seem to be melting away, both mentally and actually what’s on my plate (good news today). Everything I have continued to work hard for throughout this tough time is finally paying me back in rewards, plentifully.
I think if growth is a key for a positive mind then perhaps all my stresses have actually helped me (even though the rewards have taken so long to come back to me). This eventual achievement has helped make the future much brighter, particularly as everything came at once – it feels like a great achievement conquering it all.
So, that concludes my review on Day 23 of the Headspace journey, and as I mentioned earlier, I have now completed over 6 months of the Headspace journey (at the time of writing), and it’s really helping me.
Headspace can help you put the simple fundamentals back into place, which we seem to stray from in our daily lives. With practice, the innate qualities of the mind can be uncovered, appreciated and experienced more – and you start to form a more healthy relationship with your thoughts and feelings, and be more at one with your body and mind.
Often the problems we experience don’t need to be solved or fixed, they just need to be understood; so in Headspace you gain a much greater understanding of your thoughts and emotions, and as a side effect, almost by magic, I have found that my problems began to disappear.
Just like the blue sky, these qualities of awareness, happiness and peace etc. are always there. The clouds are our thoughts, and being aware allows us to watch our thoughts without getting too involved; and when we are more present, we have less worry, less depression, less anxiety.
We can then start to experience peace, calm and happiness more often. And when your mind is more peaceful, you can then continue to build up more awareness in other areas of your life too, such as appreciation, focus, creativity, generosity, and lots more areas!
I have been working on the different packs within Headspace and have found them really useful. Integrating mindfulness into your daily life is a really good thing. There’s so many times where we overcomplicate things in life, and at the end of the day, it’s usually our relationship to our thoughts that present the problems we experience.
Therefore, with a little bit more space in our minds, we can really start to increase our sense of presence, and live in the moment – and this is really important, because the moment is where we can shape our future and continue on our journey to our dreams.
Everyone around you will notice, and this will help you even more to achieve that sense of inner happiness everyone wants, but doesn’t necessarily know how to get. With Headspace, you start to form some really healthy habits that will stand you in good stead to build and grow.
As I have experienced, sometimes the paths to your dreams may be difficult, but that sense of achievement afterwards is only present when you know and appreciate where you have come from.
Appreciate everything – the people and the things in your life, and you will naturally attract more of the good. I really hope you have found this guide useful and try Headspace out – it helped me to change my life for the better, and understand that everything we want is right in front of us, we just need to learn to appreciate it more!
Have faith and all will follow!
I even wrote a Poem on Headspace, which you can read by clicking on the link – that’s how much I love it!
Get Some Headspace
Headspace, combined with a positive mental attitude can work wonders on every area of your life. Give it a try; it’s Free for 10 days (Level 1), where you’ll begin with the Headspace foundation course.
The foundation course starts with just 10 minutes a day (and this feels like you time, as does the rest of it), and your progress is tracked on a timeline, as are any further sessions or packs you complete.
After this, you can sign up and get full access, where you will be able to continue with the next 20 days of the foundation course (Levels 2 and 3). The foundation course is essential to get the basics under your belt, to get the most out of your meditation thereafter.
Note: You may be able to get a Free Pass via selected charitable routes, but please be mindful of the charities resources for others as well.
After this you’ll be able to choose from a variety of themed packs, which are organised into categories, such as health, relationships and performance etc.
The themed packs, ranging from 10-30 days in length, cover topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, sleep, appreciation, creativity, and even pregnancy (for both the man and the woman!) – and more.
You can even change the time that the sessions in a pack last for to suit your schedule, and also schedule packs in advance once you have finished your current pack.
There are also singles packs with various mindfulness exercises, and some extras such as guided and unguided meditation sessions of various lengths – something for everyone, including the special SOS sessions as mentioned earlier, designed for a quick fix.
And of course, the more consecutive days you complete, you can earn vouchers to give to friends, family or anyone who could do with some more Headspace.
I recommend meditating in the morning, so that you can set your mind up to be more present for the day ahead, before any other clutter. This way you’ll get the most out of your mindfulness training.
Good luck and I hope you have found this review useful and inspiring, and please share if you think someone could benefit. It helps us reach more people, and create new content.
Headspace (no affiliation) – http://www.headspace.com
Available for: iOS, Android and Amazon, as well as via the Web.
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We may be giving away some Headspace vouchers, so stay tuned! (You get vouchers to hand out to your friends and family, or anyone, when you reach milestones of consecutive days of Headspace).
3 Little Quotes For You:
- “It’s not what you’ve done, but what you’ve overcome.”
- ‘The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.’ – Eckhart Tolle
- “Find your inner peace and the rest will fall into place.”
You can get there! Please share this article to help others.
You may also be interested in this article: A Review of EMDR Treatment For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
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