Headspace

As my clients know, I'm a big fan of mindfulness meditation. I think it is one of the most powerful tools we have for attaining clarity and handling difficult emotions. In my own life, meditation has helped immeasurably . The problem with practicing mindfulness meditation is that it's hard. Simple yes, but definitely hard. It's hard to talk about, sometimes hard to do, and often hard to practice consistently--at least for most people. It's not that meditation is necessarily hard while you're doing it, it's just that it's hard to get yourself to do it. The hurried, panicky sense that "I just don't have time for this right now" can just be overwhelming. Which is unfortunate, because meditation is the thing that frees you from that panic. And you don't really appreciate that until you've practiced a bit.

So, it's important to have an easy, convenient, low-friction way to get into--or back into--practice. In the past, I usually have recommended books by Jon Kabat-Zinn or Pema Chodron. These are great, if you have the time and space to read them. Which is a big if, these days. Many people don't carry books or set aside time for reading.

So I was glad to come across this iPhone app called HeadSpace. HeadSpace provides daily, brief items of meditation instruction. The lessons are fast, simple, and helpful. There's nothing mushy or woo-woo about it.  It is packaged in a way that is stylish and user-friendly.

Most importantly, since it is a smartphone app, you may be more inclined to use it than if it was, say, a book. If you put it on your smartphone's homescreen, you're likely to see it at those idle times when you might otherwise play games or peruse social media. I've found myself using it on the train to work, replacing my typical NYTimes.com visit with a short meditation. And it helps, it really does.

If you want to learn about meditation, but don't know where to start, I encourage you to download the app. Do the first 4-5 days of 10-minute meditations, and see if you notice anything different. It's worth it.