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What should I do after the Headspace Basics?

by Kelton Wright

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So you downloaded Headspace and got through the first ten days (or as we like to call it, the Basics.) Nice work! Building a new habit into your life, even one that feels great, can be a challenge. Now that you’ve created a rhythm, it’s important to stick to it. How you meditate is up to you — everyone’s journey will be different. But if you’re looking for a little guidance on what to do next, I’ve got some tips that might help you decide.

There are important lessons to pull from each meditation, but for the sake of choosing, I’ll break it down into a few categories. I’ve tried most of the packs, and these are my personal recommendations, so I hope they help! And if you’ve got any questions, remember: you can always email us at help@headspace.com.

I just want to get started. Can you make a recommendation?

Sure! If you just want a quick choice, do the Everyday Headspace meditation. It refreshes every day and will get you off on the right track. You can always pick a pack later.

I want to choose by the amount of time I’m committing to it.

1.  I only have a couple of minutes. Help!

It’s OK, we’ve got you. On your Home screen in the app, scroll down to the Minis. Restore, Breathe, Refresh and more are all 3 minutes or shorter.

2. I’ve got ten minutes, but I don’t want to do one of the packs.

Try one of the single meditations: they’re all ten minutes catered to whatever you’re dealing with.

Where to find them: Open the app, click Discover at the bottom, and then click Singles at the top. There you can find all sorts of meditations for however you might be feeling including topics like: Under the Weather, Fear of Flying, Gardening, Presentations, Commuting, Eating, Running, End of Day, Panicking, In Pain, and plenty of Sleep Sounds to put you back to bed.

3. I want to dip my toes into doing a pack.

Why not start with a 10-day pack? You can get a feel for how packs work before diving into a 30-day pack.

Where to find them: Open the app, click Discover at the bottom, and make sure you’re on the Packs tab at the top. Then you scroll down through the series to find the right one for you. All the packs below are 10-day packs.

  • Happiness Series: Patience, Happiness, Acceptance, Appreciation, Kindness, Generosity
  • Brave Series: Regret, Change, Anger, Restlessness
  • Performance Series: Productivity, Prioritization, Balance
  • Plus, all the Sport packs and Student packs are also ten days

4. I’m ready for a 30-day pack. Let’s do this.

Great. Investing in yourself can take time! And we’ve got you covered.

Where to find them: Open the app, click Discover at the bottom, and make sure you’re on the Packs tab at the top. Then you scroll down through the series to find the right one for you. All the packs below are 30-day packs.

  • Health Series: all the Health packs (Stress, Sleep, Managing Anxiety, Depression, Pregnancy, Coping with Cancer, Pain Management) are 30 days. Dive in!
  • Happiness Series: both the Self-Esteem and Relationships packs are 30 days.
  • Performance Series: Finding Focus and Creativity are the packs for you.

I already have a practice. What should I do next?

That’s great! Many users listen to the Basics, Basics 2, and Basics 3 (a total of 30 days) to get acquainted with Andy’s teaching style and build a foundation. But it’s also OK to skip around, do multiple packs at the same time, or even put aside packs for a bit to do Everyday Headspace or a Single. I personally recommend doing the Appreciation or Kindness packs. They’ll help you build a new habit while also bringing a little extra warmth and light to your day.

We also recommend doing one of the Pro packs between each topic pack. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a monk to use these. They’ll just help you get used to a little extra silence and a little less guidance as your practice progresses.

Can I choose by technique? What are all of the techniques?

The packs and single meditations use different techniques, which are sort of the method of mindfulness. Below is a rough breakdown of how the techniques work, and who might love them. If you want to know more, visit our Animation Library in the app. (Open the app, click Discover at the bottom, then scroll across at the top to the Animations tab, and then scroll to the bottom to see the technique videos.)

BodyScan:

  • Who should try it? If you want to get in better touch with your body, this can be a fun way to do it.
  • Meditations that use BodyScan: Most of the meditations use the BodyScan technique at some point, so you’re in luck! Try the Self-Esteem pack if this technique isn’t your favorite.

Noting:

  • Who should try it? If every time you meditate you, well, forget you were meditating, this technique is for you. It helps us mind wanderers stay on track.
  • Meditations that use Noting: Depression, Managing Anxiety, Coping with Cancer, Patience, Generosity, Acceptance, Productivity, Sport Training, Restlessness, Change, Regret

Visualization:

  • Who should try it? If you’ve got a big imagination and love to daydream, you’ll likely find this technique very approachable. If you’re struggling with this one, that’s OK! We hear that from a lot of folks. For tips on this technique, watch Andy explain it in this video, or read a little more about it here.
  • Meditations that use Visualization: Depression, Stress, Sleep Pregnancy, Coping with Cancer, Kindness, Generosity, Self-Esteem, Relationships, Happiness, Creativity, Finding Focus, Balance, Sport Rehab, Sport Recovery

Resting Awareness:

  • Who should try it? If you want to be fully present, but are tired of focusing on your breath or a person in each meditation, this technique might be for you. It can be challenging, but don’t worry, Andy guides you through it.
  • Meditations that use Resting Awareness: Sleep, Pain Management, Self-Esteem, Pro packs

Focused Attention:

  • Who should try it? If you need an anchor for all that mind-wandering, this is a great technique. Every time you get distracted or lost in thought, this technique gives you a home base.
  • Meditations that use Focused Attention: Pain Management, Prioritization, Anger, Finding Focus, Sport Competition, Sport Analysis, Sport Concentration, Students Distractions, and Students Leaving Home

Skillful Compassion:

  • Who should try it? If life seems like a constant struggle to find the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff, try this technique. It takes a bit of imagination, but it can leave you feeling like you’ve just had a hug from someone you love.
  • Meditations that use Skillful Compassion: Kindness, Pregnancy

Reflection:

  • Who should try it? This one is about curiosity and stepping back from yourself. If you’re looking for a little introspection, this technique can offer great guidance.
  • Meditations that use Reflection: Appreciation, Acceptance, Sport Motivation

Loving Kindness:

  • Who should try it? If you’re struggling with hostility and resentment, this technique will be useful. It can be challenging, but in the best way.
  • Meditations that use Loving Kindness: Just the Relationships pack, but boy does it make a difference.

Meditations for specific life stages.

There are a few meditations that might be specific to where you’re at in life. The below by no means can cover every life stage, but we hope they help.

  • Students: we have two 10-day packs including Distractions and Leaving Home.
  • Pregnancy: you can find the 30-day Pregnancy pack under our Health series. (Tip: if you’re trying to get pregnant, save this pack for later. Instead, maybe give Kindness a try — the Kindness pack is actually about being kind to yourself, and we could always use that.)
  • Unwell: If something is up with your body or your mind, we know how stressful and scary that can be. We’ve developed a few packs that we hope will help. Check out Health Series for the following packs: Pain Management, Coping with Cancer, Depression, Managing Anxiety, Sleep, Stress
  • Athletics: check out our Sport series for 10-day packs on Competition, Motivation, Rehab, Recovery, Concentration and more. We also have 8 single meditations on the same topics if you want to try one session before committing to a pack.
  • Kids: whether you’re raising them, teaching them, or just babysitting them, we’ve got meditations on Sleep, Calm, Kindness and more for three age groups: 5 and under, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12.
  • Loss: we have a Grief pack releasing in March 2018.
  • Job struggles: depending on what you’re struggling with, there are a few packs that might help you get through a rough patch. Stress, Prioritization, Procrastination, Finding Focus, Creativity, and even Sport Motivation can all help in this area. If it’s a specific coworker (or even your boss), I would actually recommend the Relationships pack. They won’t fix the problems, but these packs can help you manage.
  • Problems with other people: try the Relationships pack; it’s not just for intimate relationships—it can be used for familial, platonic, and even work relationships. I’d also recommend doing the Acceptance pack, Appreciation, Kindness, and Self-Esteem.
  • Anxiety: of course the Managing Anxiety pack seems obvious, but packs I’ve loved for this issue are Happiness and Acceptance. When you feel anxiety coming on but only have a couple of minutes, take advantage of the Mini meditations on the homescreen, too.

I want to know more about a pack before starting it.

We understand that. That’s why we launched the Packcast—it’s like a book club, but for our meditations. Subscribe to Radio Headspace wherever you get your podcasts, and look for the episode about your pack. New episodes are added regularly.

Does Andy suggest anything specific?

Andy’s take for what to do after you’ve completed the first ten days is to choose the theme that resonates most with your life. He also makes the following point: “The truth, though, is that as long as you are turning up with the right approach and positive intention, you can practice packs where the theme is in no way related to what’s going on in your life and still receive considerable benefit from the techniques.”

Creating a regular habit is essential if we want to experience the benefits of meditation. That doesn’t necessarily mean every single day but the more we do it, the more likely we are to meditate again. Start with your motivation, and make sure you’re crystal clear about why you are sitting to meditate each time. If this isn’t clear, sometimes meditation won’t seem important. Our motivation often changes over time, but just be clear about that motivation every time you go to meditate.

Kelton Wright

Kelton Wright is the Editorial Director of Movement and Sport at Headspace. She is a published author, an avid cyclist, and a slow but enthusiastic trail runner. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @keltonwrites.

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