4 min read

Thoughts on Headspace

Is Headspace any good? Yes. Maybe. I hope so.
A colourful ferry boat docks at a landing stage while a person reads the newspaper.

hello camera

This week’s photo are from when I used to get the ferry ‘cross the Mersey. A lovely way to start the day and sail into Liverpool at sunrise.

You can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store or you can tip me on Ko-Fi so I can buy film for my camera.


A person looks over the river as the ferry sails across the river.


Headspace

For the past few weeks I’ve been really giving the app Headspace a go. Has mediation cured me? No. Do I feel at one with the universe after? No. Can I float? No. Do I still have those bad thoughts that no-one should ever have to live with? Yes... but for a few minutes a day I get to have a break. Sometimes a 1 minute break to focus on my breathing is like two weeks in the sun on a beach.

The app is subscription based. £9.99 a month or £49.99 a year. I went all in on a year subscription. Unfortunately there’s no discount code I can share but there is a 14 day trial. It’s one of those sign up for a year or a month to start a 14 day trial deals so remember to cancel if you don’t like it.

£50 a year is a lot of money on an app that reminds you to breathe. I have the feature built into my Apple Watch. I could easily use that. So why am I continuing my Headspace subscription when I’m struggling to make any money? About a month ago I read an article in VICE that suggested Headspace might be good for me. It’s a good article that sums up a lot of the core features of the app.

Not all meditation sessions are created equal. Some sessions, I felt light afterward, the sort of feeling you get when you step out of a pool after you swam a few laps. In other sessions, I left feeling relatively the same, though a little more at-peace. This is where the library of educational videos are helpful, as they guide you (much like the guided meditations) to help you understand that some days are good, and some days, not so good—and other days, the mind races despite how much you try to focus (or unfocus).

This fit with how I’ve been feeling recently. Last week I wrote about I’ve maybe been too harsh with the whole “This activity fixed me but failed to fix you because you suck.” It was naive to think that going for a single run would fix all my mental health issues. That sort of thinking is why I never connected with breathing apps like Mindfulness for Apple Watch or Headspace.

“Ok. I’ve breathed for a minute. I don’t feel any different. Another thing I’ve failed at. Yay.”

It’s the wrong way to be. When I run it is my mind that gives me the strength to cover long distances not my body. The other week I ran 15km because I wanted to. This week I did 10km because I wanted to. My body kept saying no but I chose to keep running. What I’m doing is practicing believing that I can do things. I’m not training for a specific event. I’m telling myself I can do this. Some days I won’t be able to either because of the weather, my body or my brain. That is fine. I have to accept that life is like living inside Rollercoaster Tycoon and the person running the game keeps toying with you because it’s good for their mental health as they’re also on a rollercoaster.

Running every other day is me practicing believing I can put my mind to something and do anything. Headspace is me practicing the ability to take a break from anxiety or depression. Endlessly ruminating on my issues, my flaws and failures is exactly what my depression wants. I’m great at practicing that. So I decided maybe it’s time to practice something else.

Is it working? Did I try Headspace and found it saved my life? No. I felt a bit depressed last night and I can feel it sort of floating around the house trying to get in. I had a good start to the week and now the rollercoaster is plummeting into a dark area filled with my mistakes all yelling at me. I hope the camera gets a good photo of me as I wiz through screaming. Woo. Yay. … Anyway. Headspace is helping and I need to practice it more. I’ll never be an expert like I’ll never run an amazing pace. Who cares though? I’m running, breathing and meditating all for me so I can not feel depressed every day.

A month in and my progress, measured via a series of questions asked at the start of the month, shows it’s helped a little. I’m not cured or saved. I’m a little less depressed. Gotta keep practicing.

Progress chart on Headspace showing a slight reduction in stress from February to March.


A colourful abstract photo of a ferry wall.


hello world


People walk down the link-span passenger bridge towards the ferry.


A person looks across the river as a ferry sails towards Liverpool.