Getting your head straight with Headspace
Here at Curious and Clever, we're always ready to check out the latest app that helps us to be productive and creative. Especially if it's an app that promises to calm the noisy voices in our heads; the stress that comes with deadlines and the ever-present demands on our time.
Careercast, in its 2017 survey, ranked public relations professional and journalist as among the top 10 most stressful jobs. Both of us are PR agency owners when we're not being incredibly curious and clever and now, more than ever, we're required to conjure up media coverage for even the most dubious product in record time. We need to convince TV producers that our clients' event or new restaurant is trend-setting and newsworthy. With ramped-up client expectations and the quest for media placements in an increasingly-fragmented media scene, it's no wonder that we are seeking our happy place.
Are you finding that your attention is constantly being divided, or challenged? Can you no longer read an email that's longer than a few paragraphs without wandering off, or concentrate on a report for more than a few minutes? How often are you checking your social media feeds, emails or texts?
Time to get your head together. Meditation came into vogue in the 1960s (check out this book that's still pretty relevant today) and has been going through a resurgence recently as we try to find ways to sharpen our concentration and quell anxiety.
I'm trying out Headspace, a meditation app for both iOS and Android, right now, based on reviews as well as interviews I've read about the founders, Andy Puddicombe and Rich Pierson. The two came out with the app in 2010 and it now boasts more than 15 million downloads. Headspace promises to deliver similar results to in-person training programs that reduce stress and are helpful to those suffering from anxiety, depression, insomnia, cancer and chronic pain.
Headspace doesn't require hours of chanting. In fact the free start-up lessons I've listened to (I am up to day two, so far), take just three minutes each. In a soothing voice, Co-Founder Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk, tells you to breathe, and occasionally he tells you to let thoughts just naturally come into your mind. "It's not about getting rid of thoughts; it's more like learning to be at ease with them." I found the experience to be calming and hope that each day I can spend just 10 or 20 minutes or so at this. Hey, there's no downside to it, really.
If you want to go farther, you can subscribe for $7.99/month, paid annually. Meditation "packs" include sessions for relationships, focus, anxiety and motivation. There's even a Headspace for kids, because I guess they're getting stressed too, like the grown-ups.
Do you have a meditation app? Let us know what you're using and why you like it.