Headspace: Tame the Void Inside You

  • Screenshot courtesy Headspace

Feeling stressed up? Overwhelmed? Restless? There’s an app for that! Well, actually, there are many – the self-help industry is a lucrative one, after all. But one, specifically, has lately hooked me hard: Headspace.

No way around it, this is a meditation introduction app. I know most meditation apps out there are made with the hip ‘burbs yoga mom in mind, all purple swirly trees, ‘Namastes’ and Buddha quotes. But this one will make you feel the feels, and think the thoughts.

Mea culpa, I know this ain’t some freshly released app, but since it certainly deserves a place on my top 5 from 2015, I thought I’d share it, hoping this app can help some fellow students find grounding through the hectic emotional roller coaster that is university. I see you, fam, and I care. Dizzying anxiety and blurring sense of impostor syndrome? Come thru.

To me, Headspace is the paramount of user experience design. It’s approachable, fun, entertaining, social, and it serves a purpose: finding stillness, aka calming you the fuck down. Is it paradoxical, an app existing on a device that’s always tugging at your attention and disrupting your focus? Or are we tempted to vilify technology as ADD fuel, in the same vein that the baby boomers and techno-pessimists criticize millenial technology as antisocial, meaningless, and vain! So let’s throw that out of the window, shall we, and legitimize the smartphone as a wellness stepping stone.

First off, the app is beautiful. Flat design through and through, vibrant yet soothing colour palette, quirky animations and character design effectively create emotional attachment and a sense of comfort. Then, gameplay features give that reward-system quality: connect with friends, a ravenous-for-meditation community, win medals for streaks of consecutive days (completionists, I see you) – reaping free trials to pass along.

It comes with a 10 sessions trial, which introduces you to the method, and features some cute animated allegories to probe thought. Meditation is a refuge, a technique, and a habit – although seemingly repetitive, Headspace anchors a practice, roots a point from which expand, and to which come back, when you feel things are starting to get out of hand.

While buying the app opens up many focused meditation paths, bringing mindfulness and a serenity to different aspects of your multifaceted existence, the trial still has proved to be formative and valuable in and of itself. I admittedly was surprised of this, since it only requires 10 minutes of my time daily.

This app, above all, is nice. It’s continuously reminding you that there is no such thing as perfect – up to the logo, a slightly imperfect orange circle, rising like a sun on the opening screen. It forgives you as your mind wanders, but reminds you to reign it back. It gently nudges you as you face the terrifying emptiness of focusing on nothing, what seems like the impending doom of boredom. It takes you by the hand, and pats you on the back, assures that meditating is hard, so why not have an infinitely patient mentor? I’m digging it.

Manage chilling out by choosing which fuck you want to give; find your blue sky suddenly returned.

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