Take care of your headspace

Headspace, the meditation app, changed how I look at mental health.

Meditation has numerous mental and physical health benefits. Healthline has outlined 12 benefits of meditation.

Evelyn Driscoll

Meditation has numerous mental and physical health benefits. Healthline has outlined 12 benefits of meditation.

When your mind is racing and you have a million items on your to do list, the last thing you think to do is take a break. When there’s a lot on our plate, we think we must “go, go, go” in order to get everything done. However, when I downloaded Headspace and started my first 3 minute meditation, I immediately knew I had found something special. Although meditation did not completely get rid of my anxiety, it changed the way I view mental health for the better.

I started meditation my sophomore year for anxiety. I experienced a lot of thoughts that felt out of my control and were difficult to silence. Originally, I thought that meditation would worsen the issue by giving me too much thinking time and making it hard to quiet the business in my brain. However, I found that the opposite is true. Headspace taught me new ways to view my mind is a more positive and healthy light.

If you’re experiencing anxiety or another mental illness, if you’re  a bit more stressed than usual, or if you just need a short break away from the screen, meditation is the perfect thing to try.

5 Things I learned from using Headspace Meditation App

  1. Observe the mind

Headspace uses a lot of metaphors in their meditations. One in particular has completely changed how I view my thoughts. It compares the mind to a street of cars. The cars that pass along the street are our thoughts. We often jump after cars, following them down the road, similar to how we jump after our thoughts, criticizing and judging them. In reality, if we just sit back and watch, the cars will come and go. Similarly, our thoughts will come and pass as usual if we learn to sit back, relax, and not jump after them by overthinking.

2. Focus on the breath

The breath is perhaps the most constant thing in our life. We breathe without even thinking about it. It’s because of the breath’s consistency that is serves as a good focus during meditation. When I meditate, I count my breaths to 10 and then start over, a practice I learned from Headspace. If my mind starts thinking about something, I simply note it, and then go back to the breath. The breath provides us with something consistent and calming to use as our mind’s anchor

3. Accept your thoughts

This concept might seem daunting. Us overthinkers know that telling ourselves to stop thinking something makes it worse. A common misconception is that meditation is about “quieting” or “silencing” the mind. Although this might be the ultimate end goal, telling yourself to stop thinking often makes you think more. Instead, a major part of meditation is acceptance. It’s not about trying to stop your thoughts; it’s all about learning to accept them. This means trying to stop judging your mind when it goes places that stress you out, and accepting your thoughts, no matter how weird or scary they might be.

4. Accept your progress

We all have a fear of failure. We want to succeed on the first try, but we cannot do this when it comes to meditation. Meditation is a skill that takes practice, and even when you feel you’ve mastered it, you might have days where you find yourself caught up in the mind. We have to learn to accept wherever we are at, being gentle with ourselves and knowing that healing is not a linear process.

5. The thought is not the action

Just because we think it does not mean it will happen. This is something I repeat to myself in times of anxiety, and something Headspace has taught me. A lot of anxiety is rooted in the idea that if I think about the worst case scenario, this scenario will happen. However, we often have weird and random thoughts for no rhyme or reason. We cannot treat every thought as fact, because ultimately, they are not. Learning that the thought does not make the action is an imperative lesson I learned from Headspace meditation practices.

View this clip for an introduction the meditation. Headspace has been ranked as one of the best meditation apps.