One of the trickiest parts about meditation is sticking to it.
Like many people, I’ve tried a handful of different guided meditation apps at different points in my life, and while I’ve always enjoyed the act of meditating (and maybe even made a habit of it for a couple of weeks) I’ve never been able to keep it up in the long-term.
You see, while the act of meditating – of closing my eyes and focusing on my breath for a few moments – is relaxing, I’ve always struggled to see how it applies to other areas of my life. Sure, completing a guided meditation before bed might make me feel a little more relaxed, but in terms of my mental health and general wellbeing, I wasn’t really sure what meditation could do.
That was, until I watched Headspace Guide To Meditation on Netflix. The eight-episode series, which was released at the beginning of January, is a beginner crash course in all-things meditation voiced by the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe.
However, unlike the traditional beginner meditation videos you might find online, Headspace Guide To Meditation takes viewers through all the different ways meditation can help us in day-to-day life, from coping with pain to dealing with stress.
As someone who writes about mental health for a living and has trialled lots of meditation apps and guides in the past, I wasn’t expecting the series to be so practical in its approach. But the tips in this series are tangible – and with insightful commentary from Puddicombe and reference to the studies and science that back-up his approach, this series provides viewers with a toolkit they can actually use to reap the benefits of meditation, every day.
Take episode four, for example. Titled How To Deal With Stress, the episode not only provides a meditative practice called “noting” to help people cope with feelings of stress and anxiety without becoming overwhelmed, but also provides a framework to help viewers understand stress and anxiety as emotions – how they work, where they come from and why it’s the way we deal with them which matters.
“As human beings, stress and anxiety are a natural part of our lives,” Puddicombe explains at one point in the episode. “It’s not that they’re necessarily bad, it’s just that when we experience them so frequently and to such an extent that they start to feel overwhelming that becomes a problem, because they adversely impact the way that we feel in our lives.
“We tend to run away from these thoughts and feelings, because we tend to think that they’re going to hurt us – that they’re going to cause us pain, and that that will only exacerbate the feelings of helplessness. So learning how to see those things in a different way, to have a different perspective of them when they arise, is really central to meditation.”
In a similar way, each of the eight episodes provide viewers with the tools they need to navigate various aspects of their lives, from developing self-compassion and dealing with anger to practising gratitude.
While the series doesn’t need to be watched in order – you could pick and choose the episodes depending on how you’re feeling – watching the whole thing is a great way to gain a basic understanding of the theory and science behind meditation and enjoy some gorgeous brightly-coloured animations while you’re at it.
In short, it’s a delight to watch – and I’d recommend giving it a go even if you’ve never considered trying meditation. After all, even if you don’t end up sticking to the meditation, you’re sure to gain a better understanding of yourself and your emotions. What’s not to love about that?
Headspace Guide To Meditation is available to watch on Netflix now.
As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.