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The app that changed my life

I know titles like this are often considered clickbait but that’s not what I am trying to do here. I want to talk a bit about an app that changed my life. Or rather, I should say that using this app on a regular basis has changed how I relate to life and even to myself and others in a way. I am talking about the Headspace app, which is available on the Google Play store and on the Apple store. It’s now also on Netflix. And what better day to write about it than on World Meditation Day?

About Headspace

Why I chose Headspace

I’ve mentioned Headspace before as kind of a side note but here I want to do more of an in-depth look. It’s an app designed to aid the user in mindfulness and meditation. Obviously, there are more apps out there that do the same thing but what brought me to Headspace initially, was the playful tone and lightness of the app. By contrast, other apps seemed solemn or dark.

When I first began meditating, I gravitated towards Zen Buddhism, particularly Sōtō Zen. I learned about that from a book by Shunryū Suzuki entitled “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind“. The book became a classic on Zen Buddhism in the west but despite its status, I actually treats its topic lightly.

Because I recognized the same sense of playfulness, lightness and simplicity in Headspace, I took out a subscription. As mentioned in the previous article, I could never develop a routine to actually get the benefits from my meditation and mindfulness practice.

Is Headspace the best meditation app out there? I honestly don’t know. I tried a few but I stuck with Headspace because it appeals to me and it works for me. I believe it could work for you too so why not give the free trial a go?

A screenshot of the Headspace user interface, showing bright colours of orange and yellow.
The Headspace interface is brightly coloured and playful

Changing perspective

When I say that Headspace is the app that changed my life, I don’t mean that in the literal sense. There’s no app that can actually change your life. I still live in the same house, am still married to the same person and I’ve not become wealthy, famous or wildly successful all of a sudden. That’s not the kind of change I am talking about.

Meditation is not some kind of superpower. I still experience stress and frustration, still feel happy or sad. You don’t become an emotionless drone or someone who always experiences a blissful calm. However, through mindfulness and meditation, you do realise that the blissful calm is always there and you can tap into it when you need it. I learned that I don’t need to engage with every thought and emotion that bubbles up in my mind. And when I do feel stress, it’s easier to step back and look at things from a different perspective.

I feel a greater sense of connectedness with myself and with others and this in turn helps me to feel more compassionate. Towards others but also towards myself. Instead of feeling emotions less, I can choose with which emotions to engage and experience them even fuller.

scenic view of ocean during sunset
You can’t control the waves of the sea
(Photo by Travis Rupert on Pexels.com)

Emotions and thoughts inside your brain are like waves in the sea. While you can’t control the sea or make the waves go away, you can learn to surf the waves. Meditation is like learning to surf and to see the waves as simply part of the ocean. And to really beat this analogy to death: Headspace is like the surfboard that helps you ride the waves.

Change your life

Again, meditation is not some kind of superpower. But there are benefits related to a regular meditation practice. So, on this World Meditation Day 2021, why not give your mind some loving attention and begin your journey to a more mindful, full and balanced life? I think you won’t regret it.

Note: this article may endorse the use of Headspace but I am not affiliated with nor am I being paid by Headspace to write this article. I am merely user sharing my experience.

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