Do Mindfulness Apps Really Work?

I am sitting in my bedroom, hands clasped on my knees, feet just touching the floor. Fairylights on. Headphones plugged in. A soft- spoken voice coaches me through my earphones for 10 minutes. He is telling me to relax and allow my body and mind to unwind. Here goes.

I was prompted to download the Headspace app over Christmas; even though I had nothing to do but watch awful festive television, I still felt as highly strung as if I was in the middle of essay deadlines. There were no looming stresses, but I didn’t feel that I could switch off. Until I stumbled across Headspace online. As I read its description, I became more intrigued: "Headspace is meditation made simple. Learn online, when you want, wherever you are, in just 10 minutes a day." As the first ten days were a free trial period, I thought, why the hell not? It only lasted 10 minutes after all.

Before I tell you my experience, watch this to learn more about Headspace. Created by a former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, he defines it on the Headspace website as a “Gym membership for the mind.”  I’ll let him explain meditation to you, in his own words.

(Video Credit: Youtube) 

To me, it seemed simple. All I had to do was nothing. For 10 minutes. It turns out it is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Allowing thoughts, when they enter into your mind, to exit again just as easily as they came in, is no mean feat. But Andy was there to guide me through those 10 minutes.  He told me: "It makes a lot of sense, that idea of not needing to stop thoughts or change thoughts, or even judge thoughts." He says later, in episode three: "Instead, simply practicing the art of sitting on the side of the road, just watching, listening and allowing the mind to unwind in its own time and its own way."


(Video Credit: Youtube) 

And the real question is, did it work? In short, yes. Having to take 10 minutes everyday when I could focus just on myself gave both my body and brain a break, and every time I finished a session I felt more relaxed. But it was hard work. My advice? Try it. It’s free after all and worst case scenario is that you have lost ten minutes from your day that you might have spent browsing on Facebook. Try it and you might just find that your brain will thank you. 

(Photo Credit: Headspace)