Our Style Editor, Victoria de la Camara, sits down with us to share her current obsession – an app that our whole office has been giving a try. Find out how this discovery might change your life.
Headspace has been a life-saver. At least for me. It’s an app of guided meditations, and it delivers this very foreign concept in a more palatable and approachable way. I’ve struggled with anxiety since my teenage years, with moments where I truly felt debilitated. Times when just breathing hurt too much, or I didn’t know what it was like not to experience this impending feeling of doom. Sometimes there were reasons for it, but most of the time there weren’t. I tried all sorts of remedies: therapy, Zoloft, exercise, and I even completed a wellness program to change my diet to one that would reduce anxiety. Most of these helped a bit, but nothing had a lasting effect. Until I began to meditate.
I wish I could say that I began meditating after taking an Eastern religions course, or on a trip to Tibet, but the reality was that I fell upon a video of Oprah interviewing Deepak Chopra and much of what he was saying resonated with me. I liked the sense of self empowerment he advocated and most importantly the insistence that the brain can be trained. I was going through a particularly tough time in my life, making a big move from Brazil to Spain, so my anxiety was through the roof.
I decided to begin meditation. I knew that I didn’t have the mind to do it on my own so I searched for guided videos on Youtube. They were helpful, but nothing compared to Headspace. Its co-founder, Andi Puddicombe, takes you through each sitting, with sporadic videos explaining some of the less obvious concepts in meditation. He made it fun, simple(er), and really took the pressure off doing it right. I started out doing 10 minutes for about 2 months, and then moved on to 15 and then 20. At first, I just wanted to feel less stressed in that moment, but without realizing it, it had seriously reduced my anxiety long term. It turns out this didn’t just happen to me: according to this Harvard study, long term meditation can actually change your brain structure and your overall feeling of happiness. For skeptics, Dan Harris’ “10% Happier” is a fun read. It just reinforced what I already knew, that sitting just 10 minutes a day to clear my head had the biggest effect on my anxiety than anything else.
If you aren’t big on the Eastern religion lingo, or you can’t get through even 2 minutes of sitting still, let alone 20, I really recommend you download Headspace. It’s free (for the first 30 days), it’s so easy to use, and just gets down to the essential. It so nice to have it on my phone, in case of an emergency or at any other moment (airports, low-key evenings at home, on vacation). It’s like having your very own meditation instructor in your pocket. There are a lot of apps out there to download, but this one just might change your life, like it did mine.