Breathr: A Fun and Easy Way to Practice Meditation
Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre | May 31, 2023
To celebrate World Meditation Day this month, we are highlighting the Breathr app to show that meditation, which is a type of mindfulness, can be fun, easy to try, and can have noticeable benefits for a person’s overall health and well-being.
What is Breathr?
Developed in 2017 by BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre and BC Children’s Centre for Mindfulness, the Breathr App is a free resource that introduces mindfulness in fun and accessible ways.
Breathr provides opportunities for people to try a variety of mindfulness practices, such as body scans, guided breathing, walking meditation, and self-compassion practices, while sharing the brain science to back them up. These practices can be explored anywhere.
As we know from research, practicing mindfulness can benefit anyone’s social and emotional well-being by reducing stress, insomnia, anxiety and depression; improving memory and focus; and strengthening our connection and relationships with others.
Breathr was developed for youth and young adults, but will soon also include content developed specifically for parents and caregivers, as well as health care providers. The app endeavors to make mindfulness as accessible as possible to both those familiar with it, and also to those who are brand new to it.
For young people, learning to cope with stress and manage difficult emotions can set them up for a healthy adulthood.
5 Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is a type of mindfulness in which you are being intentionally aware of the present moment (ie. what you are sensing and feeling) without interpretation or judgment.
By practicing meditation, it can improve our social and emotional well-being, and can help to:
- Reduce stress, anxiety and depression: Meditation can help alleviate anxiety and stress from many situations you may find yourself in. When there is a stressor in our life, we might react with an instinct to fight or flight (leave) the situation. You may notice your heart racing or other emotions and thoughts taking control of your body and mind. Meditation gives you the techniques to take a step back, breathe, and return to a more relaxed state of mind.
- Improve memory and concentration: Through meditation, your sense of focus can be enhanced. Meditation encourages you to stay in the present moment through concentrated time spent focusing on your breath and presence, instead of quickly switching from one task to the next. If your attention span is short, studies show that even a few minutes of meditation can vastly improve your ability to focus (Norris et al., 2018). This is because a brief meditation session trains the mind to stay at attention by building discipline and mental resilience. By continually practicing mindfulness, we learn to sit through any discomfort that difficult thoughts or distraction can create. Practicing mindfulness through meditation can help strengthen the brain to become more resilient against external distractions and internally difficult thoughts. This can help to increase our resilience to recover more quickly when these emotions arise the next time.
- Lead to better sleep: The practice of meditation evokes relaxation in your body and brain, thereby making it easier to quiet the distracting thoughts that might keep your mind racing at night. Additionally, meditation increases the natural melatonin levels in your brain, allowing for a more restful sleep.
- Improved decision-making skills: Meditation practices have been shown to improve decision-making skills, as it encourages the individual to cultivate awareness of the present moment and clear the mind of other thoughts. With a clear mind, and being in a relaxed state, you are setting yourself up to make better, more considered decisions.
- Strengthens our connection and relationship with others: At its core, meditation allows us to gain a greater awareness of our thoughts and feelings. This awareness provides the ability to better understand ourselves as well as understand our relationships with those around us.
How Breathr Can Be Accessed
The beauty of mindfulness is that it can be practiced in many different ways, and can be done anytime, anywhere, no matter what you’re doing!
While World Meditation Day is just one day in the year that celebrates the practice of meditation, we encourage you to celebrate yourself and your greatest potential everyday by practicing various forms of mindfulness through the Breathr app.