The average smartphone is full of distractive apps and notifications. It sounds ironic that today we can learn how to calm our mind right from our smartphone. If you’ve heard of mindfulness, you may have heard of Headspace. After all, it’s arguably one of the most popular mindfulness apps amongst meditation beginners.
I recently downloaded Headspace, to test out if it’s as effective as claimed by others or it’s just clever marketing. It turned out that it was both. As with most mindfulness apps, you’ll get to learn the basics for free, but accessing premium contents requires a price.
The question is, should you pay $95.88 annually for Headspace? Here’s my full unbiased review of Headspace.
( I’ve tested Headspace personally before writing this review. I’m not affiliated to Headspace and I make no commission should you subscribe to Headspace. My opinions are based on learning mindfulness the traditional way when I was 17 )
Headspace was launched in 2010, by Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson, who both brought the traditional practice of mindfulness and modern online technologies together and make mindfulness access to everyone.
Andy Puddicombe spent 10 years practicing mindfulness meditation in the Eastern region before ordaining as a monk in the Indian Himalayas. When he returned to the UK, he turned his intention to bring mindfulness to common people into action, and Headspace was born.
Downloaded by millions of users, it became a popular guide to mindfulness meditation within your smartphone itself. If you’re starting your mindfulness practice, Headspace is a great way to start.
Headspace stands out from other mindfulness apps because of its colorful, lively appearance and the heavy use of animated characters. It certainly makes learning mindfulness much more interesting, especially for children.
The app developer team definitely did a great job with the layout. It’s neatly organized and the usage of clear fonts and color makes navigation intuitive. You don’t have confusing tabs to choose from. What you’ll see at the bottom of the screen are Home, Discover, and your Individual page.
When you launched the app, you’ll find a neat and bright Home screen. If you wanted to start off with basic mindfulness meditation, just hit the “Begin” button right at the top of the screen. You’ll be brought to a quick introduction to mindfulness meditation before starting your first 3 minutes session.
As you scroll the page down, you’ll have quick access to other meditation contents within the app. They are categorized as Minis, Packs, and Singles. At the bottom of the screen, you get to unlock the entire Headspace by subscribing to its premium membership.
This is where you access all the guided meditation tracks and other contents. The guided meditations are separated into various categories Packs, Singles, and Kids. Besides that, there’s also a section called Animations.
Packs are guided meditations that are arranged in different topics. Each pack contains 10 to 30 meditation tracks that you can work with each day. Besides the foundation, which you’ll have free access too, there are themes that relate to your daily activities.
They are broadly categorized into these sections
Within the category, there are packs that address specific issues such as anxiety, anger, self-esteem and more. For these individual packs of guided meditation, you’ll get to try the first session for FREE, but you’ll need to subscribe to access the rest of the content.
If you need a quick mindfulness exercise amidst your busy schedule, Singles are great for you. You can use these one-off meditation tracks in your daily routine, such as when you’re trying to unwind during the weekend or preparing for an interview.
There’s a special SOS group of Singles that help you in extreme situations such as when you’re burned out, overwhelmed or lost your temper.
As the name implies, this section teaches mindfulness for kids with thems like appreciation, kindness and focus. You can choose the contents based on the age of your child, as young as 5 or below. It can be quite fun as you and your child learn to meditate together.
This is where the creativity of Headspace’s team truly shine. You’ll find a collection of brilliant animations that teaches mindfulness in easy to understand manner. Both kids and adults would find these animations entertaining.
Lost track of your meditation progress? Headspace has a page that store the duration and tracks that you’ve meditated on. There’s also a Headspace Buddies feature that lets you connect with your friends as you strive forward in your meditation journey.
I chose the best moment to try out Headspace before I wrote this review. I’m sensitive to caffeine and a cup of flat white causes my mind to be overwhelmed with anxious thoughts. That’s the price I frequently pay for being a coffee-addict.
Naturally, I started Headspace where most beginners will start, the Foundation course. It starts with a few brief explanations and a short animation on what mindfulness is all about. If you’ve never meditated before, I’ll suggest watching the animation to the end.
Then, I started the 3 minutes of foundation meditation track for Day 1 where Andy Puddicombe guides me to start my first mindfulness meditation session on Headspace. The instructions are delivered clearly in a calm manner.
I was told to sit comfortably, close my eyes and breathe comfortably while being aware of each of my breath. This is the same practice that I received from traditional meditation teacher more than a decade ago.
I like the fact that Andy emphasizes on not trying to block the mind from wandering but instead just watch it impartially. This is the characteristics of mindfulness that helps you greatly when you’re overwhelmed with anxiety.
The first session is only 3 minutes but taking a break and meditating for a short period of time helps me feel more relaxed (from caffeine overdosed). I’ll suggest you set the meditation length to 5 minutes to really benefit from it.
Here’s my verdict after using Headspace to meditate.
Personally, I would recommend Headspace meditation app if you’ll like to start practicing mindfulness meditation. It’s probably one of the best mindfulness apps in terms of content and design. The free foundation course is good enough to teach you the basic of mindfulness.
I didn’t have the opportunity to try out the premium contents as I feel the price is slightly on the high side. I believe the premium contents are equally great. If the subscription is affordable for you, by all means, try it out. Or you could check out Aware, the meditation app that I’m using that’s less than half the cost of Headspace.
Either way, I hope you get off to a good start in your meditation practice.
Have you tried Headspace for mindfulness meditation? Does it work for you? Let me know your thoughts about the app.
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