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Going South: Why Headspace might change your life

January 9th 2015 / Imogen Edwards-Jones

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Imogen Edwards-Jones on why the meditation app du jour well and truly lives up to the hype

It is that time of year again, when you’re supposed to pull your lardy rear off that well-worn corner of the sofa and self-improve in some way. But the question is how? What is the chic thing we are supposed to be doing? What is down with the kids, this year? What have the cognoscenti suddenly declared to be ‘a phenomena’? What can’t you move through the guffs of detox breath and the vaping clouds without hearing mumblings, mentions or snippets of conversation about?

Last year it was the 5:2. Anyone who was anyone, who’d met anyone, who’d shagged anyone, had done it, was on it, was about to do it, or was smugly sporting their skinny jeans from 1987 because of it. This year, apparently, it’s all about Headspace.

The brainchild of a former celibate Tibetan monk from Bristol, Andy Puddicombe, Headspace is a meditation app that helps calm the manic, mad, meanderings of the modern mind, so effectively that it has, in the last two years, developed into a global hit worth over £25m and counting. With fans ranging from our Gwyneth to the super cerebral Emma Watson, the app is now the go-to source of tranquillity and relaxation for your high-flying execs of this world.

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Including my Less Attractive Half, who is, bizarrely, one of nature’s early adopters of almost anything. He’s been all over maca, The GI, coconut water, Fatkins, Thin-kins, any-old-kins: but this – Headspace - he swears by. As do the majority of his friends, and those who don’t swear by it just haven’t used it yet.

Personally, as I am about as high flying as a hippo and am also the proud owner of a brain whose greatest recurring problem is an addiction to crisps - for which I was once successfully hypnotised against by the guru to the stars, Paul McKenna – I have yet to switch on to Headspace. But all I can say is its effects around our household have been extraordinary.

The Black Dog that used to stalk our house, every year at around this time, due to lack of sunshine, fun and/or that charming post-festive tax bill, no longer shows his mournful howling face. That detached bloke who used to sit on the beach and read the whole of summer long, while his children badgered and begged him to play with them in the sea, has ceased to exist. And that man who couldn’t be bothered to go to the gym, who’d rather eat a bag of children’s sweets than a proper supper, now has something of a six pack and an early morning spin class habit that would put Victoria Pendleton to shame.

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It wasn’t an overnight transformation; after all sitting in the lav for 10 minutes every morning while listening to a self help tape is not going to change things at the flick of a switch. But change they did. Slowly but surely, over the past 18 months the mood in the house has modified. There is a little more engagement, a little more laughter and a lot more movement. The sedentary sadness that used to engulf the whole of January and often seep into February and March has been contained into a few dull Sunday afternoons.

Not that Headspace is some sort of panacea, in fact, I am pretty sure it is not. But for a lot of miserable middle-aged blokes who used to find their young children more of a challenge than a laugh, it seems to make them realise that it is the ‘present' they are missing out on, rather than wishing this whole dreary stage would pass.

So this year, forget the fives, the twos, the chia, the juicing, it is getting into your head that counts. And to get into your head: get an app.

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