Tips & Tricks, Mental Health, Meditation, Self care 3 minute read

Why you should continue your meditation routine in 2021

May 21st is World Meditation Day. Whether you are an experienced meditator, or just starting out it’s a great day to get started or recommit to a regular personal meditation practice. Below we explore some of the ways meditation can support our well-being.

In 2020 we found ourselves at home trying to make sense of the many stressors that came with the pandemic. For many of us, this meant changes in our ways of working, separation from family and friends, and lots of uncertainty as to what the future might look like.

To navigate these feelings of uncertainty many of us turned to meditation. In fact, at Smiling Mind we saw a 67% increase in downloads in March last year.

As the dust settles and we find ourselves in an almost post-pandemic world (at least here in Australia) we may forget the importance of continuing meditation and other self-care routines we adopted to support our wellbeing when so much was out of our control.

image-from-rawpixel-id-560907-jpeg

So why should we continue to meditate in 2021 and indeed beyond? Regular meditation has been found to support both our physical and mental health in lots of ways. Here are a few of the big ones :

1. Reduces Stress

Stress is often described as feeling overloaded, wound-up, tense, and worried, and occurs when we face a situation we feel we can’t cope with. Studies have shown that prolonged experiences of stress can negatively impact both our mental and physical health. Meditating regularly can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

By setting aside time each day to practice mindfulness our brains can learn to respond rather than react, reducing our experience of the flight or fight response and the levels of stress hormone (cortisol) in our brains.

It can also help us get better at noticing when we are getting caught up in hypothetical (imagined) threats and danger, enabling us to unhook from this unhelpful thinking.

image-from-rawpixel-id-378622-jpeg

2. Improves Sleep

Many of us are familiar with the experience of going to bed and the feeling of our thoughts racing about the day that was or what is to come.

Recent research by the Sleep Health Foundation of Australia found that about 60% of adults experience either trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep, at least three times per week.

Meditation cultivates mindfulness skills which we can then apply when navigating challenges associated with falling or staying asleep. It can help us ground ourselves in the present moment, notice when we are getting caught up in unhelpful thinking, and relax the body through a variety of techniques such as focusing on our breathing and guided imagery. Check out our 21 Day Sleep Program for a range of guided meditations to incorporate into your sleep routine.

image-from-rawpixel-id-379033-jpeg (1)

3. Improves Focus 

With a world increasingly full of distractions, it is no surprise that many of us struggle to focus on one task at a time. Taking time out to meditate is great for your mind.

Studies have shown that those who practise mindfulness meditation exhibit thickening of the grey matter in the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for executive functions such as attention, self-regulation, and planning. Think of it as an exercise for your mind. Each time we meditate we are building our attentional muscle.

image-from-rawpixel-id-49265-jpeg

4. Supports your physical health

We know that meditation is a great way to support your mental health but there is also an increasing amount of evidence indicating that regularly practising meditation is great for your physical health too! Studies have found that regularly meditating lowers cholesterol, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stabilizes blood circulation in the body, and regulates blood pressure, heartbeat, metabolism, and other essential biological functioning.

image-from-rawpixel-id-2107327-jpeg
These are just a few of the many proven benefits of regularly practising meditation!

So what are you waiting for? Download the Smiling Mind app and get started! We have over 400 free meditations to suit your needs!

Remember all you need is a moment!

References:

1 Klingbeil, D. A., Renshaw, T. L., Willenbrink, J. B., Copek, R. A., Chan, K. T., Haddock, A., … & Clifton, J. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions with youth: A comprehensive meta-analysis of group-design studies. Journal of school psychology, 63, 77-103.

2 Keng, S. L., Smoski, M. J., & Robins, C. J. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical psychology review, 31(6), 1041-1056.

3 Eberth, J., & Sedlmeier, P. (2012). The effects of mindfulness meditation: a meta-analysis. Mindfulness, 3(3), 174-189.

4 Fox, K. C., Nijeboer, S., Dixon, M. L., Floman, J. L., Ellamil, M., Rumak, S. P., ... & Christoff, K. (2014). Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 43, 48-73.

5 Walton KG, Schneider RH, Nidich S. Review of controlled research on the Transcendental Meditation program and cardiovascular disease. Risk factors, morbidity, and mortality. Cardiol Rev. 2004;12:262–6. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Smiling Mind

Written by Smiling Mind

Latest

How to Master Your Workday in 2022

Learn how to maximise your time off, to master your workday.  After two years of working from home, the office, or both,...

Workplace, Tips & Tricks, Self care 3 minute read

The Great Retention

As we slowly come out of the depths of the pandemic, around the world, companies are reporting unprecedented rates of re...

Workplace, Mental Health, Meditation, Self care, Informal mindfulness, Retention 3 minute read

5 minutes with illustrator, Emma Leonard

Emma Leonard is a multi-disciplinary Australian artist and illustrator specialising in Fashion and Beauty. Inspired by n...

Self care, Informal mindfulness 4 minute read

Navigating news coverage with your family in 2022

With images of long testing queues, exhausted healthcare workers, packed hospitals and rapidly increasing infection char...

Children, Parents, Mental Health, Self care, Informal mindfulness, COVID19 3 minute read
Quote of the week
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön

At home

Navigating news coverage with your family in 2022

With images of long testing queues, exhausted healthcare workers, packed hospitals and rapidly increasing infection char...

Children, Parents, Mental Health, Self care, Informal mindfulness, COVID19 3 minute read

Wrapping the year that's been with your child

Practising gratitude with your children is an excellent way to bring their focus back to positive moments. 

Children, Family, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

5 top tips to support your child's mental health

The Smiling Mind State of Mind report found that 41% of parents reported the pandemic has had a negative impact on the m...

Children, Family, Parents, Informal mindfulness 6 minute read

At Work

How to Master Your Workday in 2022

Learn how to maximise your time off, to master your workday.  After two years of working from home, the office, or both,...

Workplace, Tips & Tricks, Self care 3 minute read

The Great Retention

As we slowly come out of the depths of the pandemic, around the world, companies are reporting unprecedented rates of re...

Workplace, Mental Health, Meditation, Self care, Informal mindfulness, Retention 3 minute read

Switching off and reflecting on the year that’s been.

This week marks the end of the working year for many of us, as we finally slide into the summer holidays and begin to ta...

Workplace, Mental Health, Meditation, Self care, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

At school

5 Steps To A Better Night’s Sleep

It’s no secret getting a good night’s sleep works wonders for your mental and physical health – but for some, getting a ...

Family, Students, Schools, Mental Health, Meditation, Informal mindfulness 5 minute read

3 Ways to Support Your Kids As They Return To The Classroom

After months of lockdown and homeschooling for the country’s two most populated cities, the time has finally come for ki...

Family, Students, Schools, Informal mindfulness 3 minute read

5 minutes with Principal, Tip Kennedy.

Meet Tip Kennedy. Tip is a principal at Richmond West, an inner Melbourne primary school that recently received its very...

Teachers, Schools 3 minute read

News

How Smiling Mind put preventative Mental Health care on the map

There is perhaps no greater challenge than to start something out of nothing.  Ten years ago, this is exactly the challe...

Mental Health, COVID19, Media release 2 minute read

Partnership Announcement - Kmart

We are excited today to announce a new partnership between Smiling Mind and Kmart. Built on a shared vision of a happier...

Mental Health, Media release 1 minute read

Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System is a game changer for mental health prevention

Smiling Mind has supported findings released today from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, speci...

Media release 2 minute read
Recent initiatives
Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 3.30.05 pm

NAIDOC Week with Jack Charles