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What should I do after the Headspace Basics?

by Headspace

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So you downloaded Headspace and got through the first 10 days (or as we like to call it, the Basics). Nice work!

 

But what comes next?

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 or incorporate mindfulness into your life is up to you — everyone’s journey will be different. If you’re looking for a little guidance on what to try after Basics, we’ve got some tips that might help you decide.

There are important lessons to pull from each meditation or exercise, but for the sake of choosing, we’ll break things down into a few common categories:

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 something quick, try an Everyday Headspace meditation. You can find a new one on your Home screen every day, and they’re great at helping get you on on the right track. You can always pick a course from the Library later.

I want to choose a meditation 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. Press the Library icon, select “Meditation essentials” from the drop-down menu at the top, then scroll down to “Mini meditations.” There you’ll find options like Restore, Breathe, Focus, and more, all of which are 3 minutes or shorter.

2. I’ve got 10 minutes, but I don’t want to do one of the courses or minis.

Try one of our single meditations: they range from 3 to 10 minutes and are catered to a range of feelings you might be dealing with.

Where to find them: press the Library icon and then use the drop-down menu at the top to select a topic that suits your mood or goals. Scroll down to the section titled “Single meditations.” There, depending on your topic, you’ll find all sorts of individual meditations for however you might be feeling, including Under the Weather, Managing Conflict, Listening to Others, Fear of Flying, Gardening, Presentations, Business Travel, Eating, Running, End of Day, Panicking, In Pain, and plenty of sleep meditations and sounds. 

We also have SOS meditation exercises that are 3 minutes long and can be found under the topic “Stress & anxiety.”

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

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

Where to find them: press the Library icon and select a topic from the drop-down menu at the top. Most of the topics have a section called “Meditation courses” that is filled with — you guessed it — meditation courses. We offer both 10-day and 30-day courses. In case a topic doesn’t have a “Meditation courses” section, you can always tell if something is a course, meditation, animation, or exercise by the label under the title to the right of the duration.

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Some of our most popular 10-day courses include Patience, Happiness, Acceptance, Appreciation, Kindness, Generosity, Navigating Change, Transforming Anger, Restlessness, Productivity, and Prioritization as well as the ones under the topics “Movement & sport” and “Students.”

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

Great! Investing in yourself can take time, and we’ve got you covered. First, as usual, select your topic from the drop-down at the top of the Library, then scroll down to find a course. Our 30-day courses are actually segmented into three 10-day levels, so you can always try the first 10 days and see how you feel. It is totally fine to pause and try something else and come back to it at a later date. 

Some of our most popular 30-day courses include Letting Go of Stress, Mindful Eating, Sleep, Managing Anxiety, Pregnancy, Coping with Cancer, Pain Management, Self-esteem, Relationships, Finding Focus, and Creativity.

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

That’s great! Many users do the Basics courses first (a total of 30 days) to get acquainted with Andy’s teaching style and build a foundation since all the other courses build on the Basics techniques. But it’s also OK to skip around, do multiple courses at the same time, or even put aside courses for a bit to do Everyday Headspace or a single meditation if you want. Many new Headspace users find the Appreciation and Kindness courses are great for building a new habit while also bringing a little extra warmth and light to your day.

We also recommend trying the Pro courses between the topic courses. These can be found in the Library in the section called “Expanding your practice” under the topic “Meditation essentials.” Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an experienced meditator 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?

There are currently eight different meditation techniques used in the Headspace app, all of which have their foundation in mindfulness: Body Scan, Focused Attention, Noting, Visualization, Resting Awareness, Loving Kindness, Reflection, and Skillful Compassion. All of these techniques incorporate elements of both calming and insight meditation. Additionally, they all have an altruistic intention at their core that aims to help you train both awareness and compassion at the same time.

If you want to know more, you can watch the short animated explainers in the app. When you select a course or single meditation, you will see what techniques are used. To help you get acquainted, you can watch an animation that explains the technique. We really recommend doing this if you’re having trouble. The techniques can also be found in the Library under both the “Meditation essentials” and “Helpful tips & support” topics. Our 30-day courses include more than one technique, but with those, you are fully guided by Andy.

Body Scan

  • 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 Body Scan: Most of the meditations use this technique at some point (often at the start to help you get settled into the session), so you’re in luck! Try the Self-esteem course if this technique isn’t your favorite.

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 can give you a home base.
  • Meditations that use Focused Attention: Basics, Pain Management, Prioritization, Transforming Anger, Finding Focus, Sport Competition, Sport Analysis, Sport Concentration, Students Dealing with Distractions, and Students Leaving Home.

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 to stay on track.
  • Meditations that use Noting: Managing Anxiety, Handling Sadness, Coping with Cancer, Patience, Generosity, Acceptance, Productivity, Sport Training, Restlessness, Navigating Change, and Dealing with 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: Letting Go of Stress, Sleep, Pregnancy, Coping with Cancer, Kindness, Generosity, Self-esteem, Relationships, Happiness, Creativity, Finding Focus, Balance, Sport Rehab, Sport Recovery, and Handling Sadness.

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, and Pro courses.

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 course, but it really can make a difference.

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, and Sport Motivation.

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 and Pregnancy.

Anything for life stages? I’ve got something specific in mind.

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

  • Students. We have two 10-day courses including Dealing with Distractions and Leaving Home.
  • Pregnancy. You can find the 30-day Pregnancy course in the “Physical health” topic. (Tip: if you’re trying to get pregnant, save this course for later. Instead, maybe give Kindness a try. The Kindness course 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 courses that we hope will help. Select the “Physical health” topic from the drop-down menu in the Library to find the courses for Pain Management, Coping with Cancer, Coping with Cravings, and Mindful Eating as well as the single meditations Under the Weather or In Pain.
  • Athletics. Select the “Movement & sport” topic in the library to find our 10-day courses on Competition, Motivation, Rehab, Recovery, Concentration, and more. We also have single meditations on the same topics if you want to try one session before committing to a course. And you can find our mindful walking and running exercises there.
  • 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: 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12.
  • Loss. We have a Grieving course that can be found in the “Life challenges” topic.
  • Job struggles. Depending on what you’re struggling with, there are a few courses that might help you get through a rough patch. Letting Go of 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) causing tension, you may want to give the Relationships course a try. They won’t fix the problems, but these courses can help you manage.
  • Problems with other people. Try the Relationships course. It’s not just for intimate relationships — it can be used for familial, platonic, and even work relationships. We also recommend doing the Acceptance, Appreciation, Kindness, or Self-esteem courses.
  • Anxiety. The Managing Anxiety course might seem obvious, and other courses people use for anxiety are Happiness and Acceptance. When you feel a bout of anxiety coming on but only have a couple of minutes, take advantage of the Mini meditations in the “Meditation essentials” topic.

Does Andy suggest anything specific?

Andy’s take for what to do after you’ve completed the first 10 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 courses 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.

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The Headspace app has been downloaded more than 30 million times. It will teach you the life skill of meditation in just 10 minutes a day. Here on the Orange Dot, you'll find stories, advice, and features that will support you on your journey to a healthier, happier life.

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