By: Mary Fran Bontempo

headspaceIt’s no secret that I’m usually a little stressed. And I’m not alone.

Work stuff, family stuff, money stuff, general life stuff…sometimes sleep is hard to come by for all the “stuff” swimming around in my tiny head.

My usual go-to solution involves wine and chocolate, but for obvious reasons (drunkenness and excess poundage), they aren’t always practical. Seems like genuine mental refreshment should come from a more spiritual place anyway.

I’ve long envied the Zen-like calm promised by meditation, but the whole idea of mumbling a mantra and sitting cross-legged on the floor with my eyes closed for an hour seemed ridiculous, not to mention impossible. I can barely sit still for five minutes before panicking over what I should be doing that I’m not doing while I’m sitting, so an hour? Fuhgeddaboudit!

But, when I found a phone app that promised to help me de-stress by meditating a mere ten minutes a day, I was eager to check it out.

Headspace, founded by Brit, Andy Puddicombe, gently guides the listener through a mild, no-pressure, ten minute meditation that does what it says–calms the mind and leaves you refreshed. In fact, several times, I completed sessions just before bed time, and I fell asleep faster and stayed asleep longer–no small feat for a woman who routinely wakes up in the middle of the night and starts mentally gnawing on stuff like a dog on a bone for hours.

As Andy says, don’t worry if you don’t know what you’re doing; meditation takes practice. And instead of berating yourself when your mind starts to wander, Andy advises you to gently bring the mind back–it’s all okay. By the time you’re through just sitting, you begin to get what the Zen thing is all about. Of course, Andy’s soothing, British accent doesn’t hurt either. Love a British accent!

The free app offers a 10 day trial period for the guided sessions, after which, of course, there is a cost to join the program. I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I am thinking about committing. Anything that can get me to sit still for ten minutes and want more after it’s over might just be worth its weight in gold.

But whether I sign up or not, I do think I’m going to incorporate meditation into my routine. After all, just sitting is infinitely more appealing than sweating at the gym in order to de-stress. And if it doesn’t work, the wine and chocolate are just a few feet away in the kitchen.