Sunday, 5 February 2017

My Headspace journey...

Last post I mentioned that I would share a tool with you that I've been using on my journey through grief... and so today I am going to tell you a little about my experience with Headspace.

I originally came across the app about a year ago after reading a number of books on Mindfulness. I downloaded the app on my phone, and then did the free mindfulness based meditation sessions on the basic ten day program ...TAKE 10 (ten sessions of just ten minutes a day). 

Generally at that time I practiced them in the car while waiting to pick the kids up from school. It was a tool that I used to help me manage the daily stresses of dealing with life with Heni, a number of health challenges and various other demands. 
Life then got even more complex and I started skipping out on the sessions...  and I never went any further than the "freebies"... I guess I felt like I couldn't justify taking out a subscription at that time.
 Now you can imagine that I was somewhat happy and excited to find out that my Christmas Gift from my son and daughter in law last year was a Headspace subscription!

After Heni passed away in October I found that my thoughts and feelings were running riot and I had no control over the grief that would wash over me each day. It seemed that grief carried me around from one thought to another and one feeling to another, and the negative aspects of grief (it does have some positive aspects too!) were overwhelming.  If you have undergone a bereavement you may very well agree that grief can seem to be the one in control...instead of us learning to accept and manage "it".
...And so over the last month and a half, some of my time, attention and focus has been concentrated on using my fabulous gift and working my way through the programs on the App. 

First, I decided to revisit the Take 10 that I'd done previously, and then worked my way though Level 2 and level 3 of the foundation course. I then chose one of the many focus areas (Health, performance, relationships etc) to move on to next. 


I chose to work through the depression package out of the health section, as there was no package for grief. I figured that it was probably the closest feeling/ emotion to it. 
As you can see below you can keep check on how you progress through each package and see how you are working your way though the guided sessions .
Each day I have been practicing for just 15 minutes when I wake up ... but you can change the length of the sessions and fit them in any time you want. It's like having a gym session or rather a personal trainer for the mind. Not only does my mind feel clearer and more focused to start the day, but I'm also noticing that the pain in my back and hips is also less after the session.... some days I just feel like I don't want to get out of bed, but after doing my 15 minutes session it is easier to get up!

I enjoy listening to Andy Puddicombe each morning...each day he subtly builds up techniques and tools and I look forward to his wise pointers...his voice is rather pleasant to listen to too! 

It can be easier when you are dealing with grief...(any type!) to try to ignore the feelings that come up... or you can fill you time so fully that there is no room left for the  unpleasant thoughts, feelings and pain. Mindfulness can seem like you are sitting down doing effectively nothing but what you are really doing is not stopping or controlling or batting away the multilayered thoughts, but stepping backwards from them and viewing them from a distance.  We cannot change the grief that comes our way but we can gradually change how we view and experience it.

 I am not expecting grief to go away...I think it will highly likely pop up at the most unexpected times  in the coming years.....but what I am  hoping to do is learn how to look at it differently. This tool is slowly teaching me how to look at the thoughts, feelings and stresses in the mind that appear AND is showing me how to look at them with a measure of acceptance, not resistance. I hope to learn how to manage the thoughts and feelings grief stirs up, a little better each day. As I progress on my Headspace journey I am becoming more aware of the messages that they hold for me and learning to treat myself with a higher level of compassion (rather than frustration). I'm also gradually learning how to not be overwhelmed by thinking and feeling them. It's a slow journey... but then Rome wasn't built in a day!

There are lots of studies on the effects of mindfulness based stress reduction and mindfulness based cognitive therapy ... and Headspace have also been doing some of their own research too. If you want to check out some of the effectiveness of mindfulness on stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, cancer, chronic pain and sleep  you can find more information on the Headspace website here

If you like the sound of this App you can download the free "Take Ten"  on you computer or phone (click on the above link or go visit the App store). If you really like it after practicing for ten days, I have a code that I am happy to give to the first person I pick out of a hat at random. All you have to do is show me you completed the ten day course (a photo of the screen shot of your Take 10 journey) and write to tell me how it helped! 

I earned the code by meditating for 30 days in a row and I have no affiliation to Headspace ... (I just wanted to recognize a useful tool that has been helping me on my grief journey.  

So why not have a go... see if you like it... or better still see if it helps you in any way...

Hope to hear from you in ten days!



  1. Jade, I'm using a similar app. It's crazy how our mind takes over if we don't take the time to harnass our thoughts and emotions. It is a challenge, but I'm noticing I am so much more aware of how often the mind wanders unnoticed and unchecked. I continue to pray for you and your family as you journey through grief. Walking this road also, day by day.

    1. I'd love to know which app you are using. I think it's helpful ot have tools like this as a resource ... doesn't matter which one you use so long as it gets used huh? Thank you for your prayers Crystal xx

  2. Hi Jade,
    I know my thoughts run amok all day long. Harnessing them in would be a healthy option! As of late, it has been causing extreme amounts of insomnia! I sleep for a few minutes then wake up quickly in a panic. The remainder of the night I'm awake with the thoughts :-( I'm glad you have found something to help control those thoughts so that you can focus on hope - on our Jesus who saves!

    Thinking of you and praying for you often,

    1. Oh no Lori that's not much fun. I had that a while ago. I hope you get some relief. I wrote a blog post a while ago which included some sleep hygiene tips that you might like. I think it was the sanity space project making the sleep mask. Have a go at the take 10 also to see if it helps and if you like it you might win the code for an extra subscription! Xx

  3. Bless you Jade as you work through this difficult time. Yes, I find my grief is sort of GUILT - - but naturally we can NOT blame ourselves because we are not at fault. Our thoughts do attack us and finding some relief is good. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

    1. Hi Hazel. It's funny how although grief is similar... it is different for everyone. Thank you for your support and taking time to stop by today. X


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