There’s some pretty big music news coming your way tomorrow (so stay tuned) and to set the scene, if you will, I’ve decided to talk to you about my experience with an app called Headspace.
Now for some reason, we’ve come to expect big name fancy apps that really stylise and make something trendy, whether it be: finance, mental health or fitness and so on. The list is endless. By packaging these apps in a visually spectacular way we can become conned into believing that we’ve found the wonder cure that’s going to sort our lives out. All we have to go is keep living, making minimal effort and use the app, with or without a premium subscription.
There seems to be an unspoken rule in marketing these apps that, actually, maybe we shouldn’t charge people for them in the first instance. This is great news for many, because it means you can try it out before you buy, where I often make the mistake however is I notice those little padlocks or those ads that say, with premium ‘your life will be so much better somehow’. Headspace, if you hadn’t figured it out, is one such app.
I really didn’t know what I was getting with this app but I saw it advertising an exercise for Anxiety on my Instagram feed, one of those sponsored ads and so quickly scrambled to investigate. What I found was that actually it’s quite probably the least personal way to encourage you to take some time out of your day to think, at least in my experience. Let’s start by saying it seems much more of a glorified podcast than an app. I found it very difficult to do the things that the narrator was telling me to do during the exercise.
Each time I thought I was doing well, I’d get an itch on my forehead, tap my feet and be reminded of exactly where I was in reality not in my headspace. I’d be interrupted by a voice repeating what he had just said. My foray into this journey I was supposedly on with a man that I didn’t even know was inhibited by the simple fact that I simply do not know how to get my brain to ‘let go of its thoughts and allow them to filter in and out at will’ or how to ‘become aware of the weight of my legs’ when I’m wondering so tirelessly and unsettled away. Finding a space that you can go for ten minutes a day and sit, uninterrupted can be difficult enough but actually I found myself more unwilling to co-operate with a professional voice who was obviously qualified to talk about these things, but on a global, and much less intimate scale.
It didn’t work out for me precisely because actually, I find it very difficult to shut out unwanted emotions and thoughts. When I’m angry I want to vent until all of my energy has been consumed and actually, even that doesn’t feel like enough sometimes and is more detrimental in all honesty. When I’m anxious it feels like I’m stuck in a room that’s getting increasingly more difficult to escape from and when I’m sad, it feels like I’m descending into a deep black hole of negativity from which no light ever emits. When I’m happy, it’s as if I constantly downplay whatever I’ve been feeling and allow that happiness to become a veneer of gloss on top of my emotions. But overall, I wish that even while resting I could slow everything down just enough to understand it all.
You can’t honestly put a price on feeling better mentally, it’s the hardest thing to remedy and I think because we think we ought to be able to solve all our problems by thinking literally about the cause that makes this so hard to deal with. It’s difficult for me to attempt to review this app because I couldn’t get far enough through the sessions to have a particularly informed opinion about the app itself. I can tell you that I’m positive about having tried something here, even if it didn’t turn out exactly how I’d planned. I’m optimistic that for some, this will already be ingrained into their morning routine and others will simply overlook wellbeing apps altogether, and frankly I don’t blame you either.