Until a couple of years ago I had not even considered those words.
I just wasn’t really convinced that meditation was useful. It didn’t help that there were stereotypes of people sitting cross legged on the floor, pinching finger and thumb together and humming “ommmmm”.
Around 2016 I started listening to the Tim Ferris Show and also reading his books. Something kept being highlighted: Around 80% of the people interviewed did some kind of mindfulness regime or meditation. They had either gone heavily into such things as transcendental meditation or just took time every morning to meditate from 10 to 30 minutes.
Maybe, I thought, there is something to this mindfulness / meditation thing that needed further investigation and also giving it a try?
Also, if I can’t spend just 10 minutes on a bit of mental health or wellness, then perhaps priorities might not be right. Meaning, diet and exercise are often mentioned regarding health but what about the mind? At the time I was struggling to keep on top of things and was quick to rise up and snappy. Often I’d be taking my work pressure home. Not sleeping right didn’t help either. What did I have to lose in trying something new?
Following a bit of research, I gave Headspace a try using their 10 day trial. As the old saying goes, it takes three days of doing something to form a habit. The first three days were pretty straight forward though not getting distracted was difficult. As was finding a quiet place before everyone else got out of bed. Ten days went by pretty quickly.
“Progress” was hard to quantify. I felt a bit more relaxed. I decided to take the plunge and go for a one year subscription. Now I have a 10 minute session every morning. It is part of my daily routine and if not in the morning due to travel or trouble finding a quiet space then I’ll do it before bed.
I don’t think I’m very good at sitting and not thinking. I tend to think or get distracted. That is where Headspace is really helpful as Andy the guide brings me back on track. I get bought back to the moment. There has been a few times where I’ve felt that I’ve got it right (not that there is a wrong) but most of the time I need a prompt to pull me back to the exercise.
Over the past two to or so years I’ve done almost all the modules and now pick and choose what I need depending on what is happening in life. I also take unguided time out during the day as recommended. Certainly I am much more aware of my own behaviour which gives me a chance to correct myself if and when required. Sometimes it is behaving as if someone else is watching.
Overall, though it is hard to say why, I’m convinced that I’m in better mental shape for using Headspace than not and I have certainly taken more of an interest in mental well being than before.
Meditation isn’t for everyone and I’m sure some people will see it as a bit too hippy for them. I did, but is worth at least giving it a go. What is the worse that could happen; 10 sessions of 10 minutes time lost in the morning? Anyone can do that.
I still don’t know much about meditation having just dipped my toes in the pond. Here is a short animation that explains Headspace better than I can and once you do get into the swing of things, check out the blue sky animation.