“If meditation is too hokey for you, why don’t we call it mindfulness?”
That seems to be the basic idea behind the teachings of Andy Puddicombe, the author of Get Some Headspace (or is it The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness?). No matter what the title is, the book chronicles Puddicombe’s personal journey through mindfulness, using his experiences as a guidebook to the techniques he uses to achieve a more healthy mental state.
First off, Puddicombe uses the term “Headspace” to describe a sanded down version of the techniques taught by Buddhists. In this way, he can market the peace of mind without scaring away the anti-hippie crowd or give the false impression that he’s trying to convert his clients to a religion. No mysticism here. Since his company is called Headspace, the non-branded version would be “mindfulness.”
More importantly, the idea behind getting some headspace is taking a few minutes every day to stop, focus your thoughts, and simply exist in that space, acknowledging the thoughts that come to you once you’re free from the distractions around you. Yada yada yada: headspace.
Does it work? I suppose the answer would be different for everyone, but for me the answer is yes.
During a very stressful period in 2016 I went through the 10 for 10 Headspace program. For me, the main takeaway from for me after sitting in relative silence was just how aware I now was of I rely on distracting myself to get through the day.
As soon as I got up in the morning I would be on my smartphone, reading through tweets and Facebook posts for longer than I care to admit. I would lay there until the fear of running late outweighed the desire to stay motionless and warm in my bed.
Smartphones are almost the opposite of mindfulness. With the ability to communicate with every corner of the globe, my smartphone can be a continuous morphine drip of distractions for when I want them and notifications to bring me back when I don’t want them.
I remember that I would even call a friend on the way home just to avoid the silence of the car . What’s worse is I even picked up my phone every time it buzzed at the dinner table with my kids. The “no toys at the table” rule seemed pretty hypocritical when I wasn’t willing to put my phone out of reach.
Finally, after a long day of working while messing with my smartphone, my wife and I would sit down on the couch together, pick a show for us to watch, and then quietly stare at our phones instead for a few hours.
I know I’m not the only one.
While the Headspace program itself isn’t designed to get you to curb a smartphone habit, it did help me to be aware of the craving. And really that’s what mindfulness is about: awareness.
Guided meditation isn’t for everyone, but you’ll never know until you try it. I’ve reaped some benefits that aren’t what is intended. Even though Puddicombe explicit states that the techniques in the book aren’t for putting you to sleep, I’ve found his primary breathing technique to be a lot more helpful than counting sheep. (How is counting sheep supposed to be helpful anyhow?)
If you’re curious yourself, you might try the Headspace app, which provides 10 days of 10-minute lessons for free. I’ve never paid for the full version, but I’ve benefited from it. The lessons are guided meditations by Puddicombe, and if you’re a data junkie like me, the Headspace app syncs up with Apple HealthKit to track your time.
For the book itself, I wouldn’t really recommend it. Make no mistake, Andy Puddicombe might be mindful, but he doesn’t leave the impression he’s got a master plan for communicating outside of the mindfulness. He’s written three different books on meditation, including this one which has recently been re-released under a different title. Another one is on mindful eating and there’s another one on having a mindful pregnancy (of which I am sure that Mr. Puddicombe has abundant personal experience).
With that being said, I’ve found his guided meditations helpful.
For a different perspective on mindfulness, you might try Dan Harris from Nightline and Good Morning America’s 10% Happier. If you’re looking to de-stress, you might de-cluttering your with the techniques found in The More of Less by Joshua Becker. Finally, If your looking for some relationship mindfulness, I always recommend Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.
Get Some Headspace is the eighth book I’ve read in 2019. If you’ve got any suggestions for other books, I would love to hear them since I’ve decided to read 100 books again this year. If you want to see this year’s list so far, just check out revengemethod.com
Keep it real.
Get Some Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All the Difference by Andy Puddicombe
Demystifying meditation for the modern world: an accessible and practical route to improved health, happiness and well being, in as little as 10 minutes.