As you know, 28 has always tried to keep a focus on mindfulness in its offering to our members. Over the last few years, the last two in particular, I’ve learnt so much more about this practice and its benefits for our mental health. And it really has been more and more at the forefront of concerns for many people.

We’ve previously worked with mindfulness and meditation teacher Fleur Chambers and “Zensai”/comedian Hamish Blake to share meditation and mindfulness exercises you all. And this month I am beyond proud to announce that 28 is partnering with Australia’s number 1 mindfulness app and mental health not for profit, Smiling Mind.

Since 2012 they have been pioneering in this space, delivering mindfulness programs to schools and workplaces, as well as supporting almost 7 million minds with their mindfulness app. Personally, it feels like we are adding the missing part of that holistic puzzle we’ve always worked so hard to pull together for our 28ers.

So, what does this partnership mean for 28ers?

The wonderful experts at Smiling Mind have curated 20 mindfulness practices that you will have access to in your app. These range from 2 to 10 minutes – because as with everything, it’s good to start small and work up to bigger things.

These practices include:

  • Foundational meditations to get you started
  • Body scan practice
  • Breath practice
  • Mindset practice
  • Sleep practices
  • Mindfulness+ practice, focused around cultivating inner resources

There have been studies upon studies conducted in recent years that have proven the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and taking them from being somewhat of a fringe practice, to being something that 1 in 10 Australians engage in regularly today. These benefits include:

  • Reductions in stress, anxiety and depression
  • Increased happiness and wellbeing
  • Improved memory and the ability to problem solve
  • Immune system support
  • Better quality sleep

In the spirit of this partnership launch, I thought it’d be really helpful to dispel some of the common misconceptions about mindfulness and meditation. So, I went to Smiling Mind’s Clinical Psychologist Catherine to help me do just that…

Firstly, what’s the difference between mindfulness vs meditation?

Mindfulness a way of being and seeing in the world.

Meditation is a practice to cultivate and strengthen our ability to be mindful.

I used to think meditation was about climbing to the peak of a mountain and sitting and humming for two hours – tell me how wrong I was!

Very! But that is a very common view of what meditation should look like. Truly, it is about the bite sized moments that help us tune in to ourselves, and find quiet and stillness. It can be such a powerful practice, and importantly so easy to include in your daily healthy habits.

For so many years I thought I couldn’t meditate because I thought you had to stop thinking.

Well, we can’t stop thinking – that’s impossible. Meditating helps us to create a different relationship with our thoughts. It helps us to see that our thoughts aren’t facts, which is incredibly freeing. And it enables us to put space between ourselves and our thoughts and emotions, so that we have better access to different perspectives.

If you are new to these types of practices, here are Catherine’s top tips for getting started.

  • Start small and build up in a consistent way – it’s just like exercise guys, small steps to big goals
  • Pair it with something you already do regularly – if you journal every morning before you get up or take your body through a short stretch to wake up, why not add a few minutes of meditation?
  • Find the time of day that suits you is helpful – there is no right time of day! Meditation is energising for some, and calming and soothing for others. Experiment with it.
  • Manage your expectations of mindfulness – you can have your big picture goal (eg reducing stress), but each individual practice you do is going to look and feel a bit differently. So always be curious and open to what it can do for you.

Over the past two years of great uncertainty, it’s no wonder that 78% of Australians experienced poor mental health. These practices are so important, as it is abundantly clear that you just can’t separate physical and mental health. I love this project so much, and I love that this is our chance to do more in this amazing space. And I think you will absolutely feel the benefits.

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.