What is World Meditation Day? And, how to make it meaningful for kids

What is world meditation day

Learn about World Meditation Day

It seems most of us are overworked, overwhelmed and stressed out. In today’s hustle culture of trying to do more, be more, and have it all, we find ourselves sacrificing the most important things in our lives: time with our children, family and friends, and often our calm, health, peace, and wellbeing.

For adults and kids alike, free time is often spent doing things that don’t leave us feeling good afterwards, like mindlessly scrolling through social media. Habits like these can make creating time to meditate and fully be present seem like a lot of work and not realistic.

This is where World Meditation Day comes into play, a day to remind us of the power meditation can have in our daily lives.

What is World Meditation Day?

World Meditation Day was created by a meditation teacher named Will Williams to give people an opportunity to take a much-needed break from daily living and find calm and well-being through the practice of meditation.

Very simply, World Meditation Day is a day dedicated to honoring and promoting the many benefits of meditation. It’s a day to inspire people to incorporate meditation into daily life and prioritize mindfulness in the increasingly busy world.

When is World Meditation Day?

Celebrated every May 21st, World Meditation Day honors the ancient practice of meditation, and invites us to find ways to bring this gentle practice into our lives to enhance our well-being and connect with the calm deep inside us.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a practice that uses physical or mental techniques to calm the mind and help you find stillness. It’s been a component of many world religions and dates back to around 5,000 BCE.

It is important to note that meditation is not about erasing thoughts. Rather meditation is about focusing your mind, through meditative practice, and then noticing when thoughts distract you (which they will do) and then bringing your focus back to meditation.

While meditation has its roots in religious practices, you don’t need to be religious to practice meditation. It is both a religious and a secular practice that has recently become quite studied in the scientific community for its many benefits on health and well-being.

Benefits of meditation

  • Increasing focus
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Boosting immunity
  • Easing pain and symptoms of illness
  • Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
  • Enhancing sleep and reducing insomnia

Meditation also plays an important role in helping people with anxiety disorders, depression, sleep disorders, and addiction.

Why does meditation work?

Researchers in major medical institutions worldwide are proving in study after study what ancient practitioners have always known: meditation boosts brain health and a person’s overall wellbeing.

By using modern diagnostics like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG), scientists can prove that meditation reduces cortisol and boosts the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA proteins. 

This means that by positively impacting neurohormones and neurotransmitters, meditation has numerous benefits for mental and physical health. Meditation is simple, but it is a complex mind and body process that changes brain circuitry and chemistry, cognition, emotions, perception and activity in the autonomic nervous system.

When you meditate it may look like you are doing nothing, but your brain and body are busy doing a lot of things that are quite good for you. Meditation both reduces and increases activity in different parts of the brain, and this is very good for you.

According to Matt Dixon, a research scholar in the psychology department at Stanford University in Stanford California, meditation affects two main pathway changes in the brain. One of these pathways is involved in ruminating thoughts about the past and the future. This area of the brain is called the Default Mode Network (DMN) and includes the mesial prefrontal cortex, the PCC, the hippocampus, the precuneus, the inferior parietal lobe and the temporal lobe.

Research shows that people who practice meditation reduce activity in this network in the brain. This is important because people with high activity in the DMN may be more prone to mental disorders like schizophrenia and depression.

Another part of the brain, the insula, becomes enhanced and more active in people who meditate. The insula controls the body’s autonomic functions by regulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and the immune system. An enhanced insula means you are more in tune to your body and its sensations, which results in meeting its needs. Scientists are finding that the insula plays an important role in brain functioning and neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Why is World Meditation Day important?

With worldwide levels of stress and anxiety skyrocketing, meditation offers a low-cost, easily accessible tool that can help people feel better, inside and out. World Meditation Day helps make people aware that meditation is an option for them and their families.

In addition to the above-mentioned mental and physical benefits, meditation takes us out of ourselves and into the present moment. Bringing attention to the present moment helps us manage big emotions, like stress and anxiety. World Meditation Day celebrates the present by allowing us the time and space to be enjoy the here and now. This leads to many benefits for us, like less anxiety increased immunity and better sleep. These positive changes in us improve the collective, too. Those who practice mediation have more compassion, empathy and patience, which leads to a better world for all of us.

Benefits of World Meditation Day:

  1. Celebrates the history and many traditions of meditation and invites us to create space for this beautiful, calming practice in our lives today.
  2. Reminds us of the importance of meditation to enhance our mental and physical health and overall wellbeing.
  3. Promotes and contributes to harmony and peace around the globe. Those who practice meditation and mindfulness, especially the technique of loving-kindness or metta meditation, help heal the world of prejudices. Meditation encourages us to appreciate all people, everywhere, and invites us to treat ourselves, and others with gentleness and acceptance.
  4. Encourages us to develop a practice that strengthens our immune system, reduces our stress levels, improves our sleep, aids in our digestion, calms our anxiety, eases depression and helps us focus on the things that matter most in our lives. Living our lives in the moment and experiencing the present is one of the greatest gifts of meditation.

How to make World Meditation Day meaningful for yourself

  1. Commit to a time to meditate. This might be something as simple as stepping away from your desk, stepping outside, and taking several deep, slow breaths while watching clouds move across the sky.
  2. Connect with others by joining many of the online or in-person World Meditation Day events or meditation sessions.
  3. Enhance or begin your meditation practice. Whether you take an in-person or online class, try a new meditation technique or read a meditation book. There are many ways beginners and seasoned meditators can bring more joy and meaning to their daily practice.
  4. Organize a meditation event for your family, your neighborhood or even your workplace. You could do this in nature, at a park, in a library or community center, or in the break room at work. This may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t need to be. There are plenty of guided meditations and meditation musical tracks available to do the heavy lifting. All you need to do is gather some friends and build a community of people who share the mission of creating calm in their lives.

World Meditation Day activities for kids

  1. Teach them what meditation is, and why is important. A simple explanation works best: “Meditation is about finding stillness and peace wherever you are.” Tip: dive into a kid-friendly moving meditation with Sunflower Stretch.
  1. Meditate with your child. This might be using a kid’s meditation platform like Wee Meditate, playing soothing music and watching the stars begin to dust the night sky, or taking a few minutes to do a gentle body scan before bed. Tip: explore mindful transitions with The Night Bridge.
  1. Help our little one create a soothing meditation space. A calming space set can be the corner of the room, or a small spot in a backyard or garden. It can be any place that your child finds peaceful.

Some things to include in a meditation space:

  • Soft pillows
  • Warm blankets
  • A fabric canopy
  • Favorite stuffed animals
  • Gentle lighting or a small lamp
  • Sound machine or music speaker

You know best what is age-appropriate and developmentally safe for your child’s meditation space. Involving your child in the creation of their meditation space is a great way to get them involved and excited about meditation. Remember that meditation truly can be practiced wherever you go and the addition of a meditation space will only enhance this transformational practice.

  1. Go outside. Meditating outside, in nature, is one of the best ways for adults, and kids, to relax. People find being in nature calming, and study after study reveal the benefits of spending quiet time in nature. Whether that means you are under the sun or moon, near a whispering river or enjoying the greenery in a neighborhood park, meditating with whatever nature is nearby is restorative for kids and adults alike. Just make sure that this time is spent meditating. There are many ways to meditate outside, from meditations focused on breath or an object, walking meditations, or even creative visualizations (making pictures out of the clouds in the sky.) Just remember, this isn’t play time, this is meditation time.
  2. Invite kids to meditate with a friend. This might be a teddy bear, a favorite pet, a relative or buddy. Metta, or loving-kindness meditation is a perfect practice to share with another. Tip: introduce Metta meditation through Weasel’s Loving-Kindness Meditation.
  1. Bring meditation and mindfulness into many aspects of your child’s life. This might be eating mindfully, washing hands mindfully by noticing the temperature of the water or the scent of the soap, or stopping to “Take 5”, noticing one thing they can see, smell, feel, hear, and taste at different times throughout the day or the week. Tip: join Wee Meditate and easily make meditation part of your child’s daily routine.

World Meditation Day is a wonderful way to bring meditation into your life and your child’s life. If you are already meditating, World Meditation Day can inspire you to deepen your commitment to the practice. Wee Meditate has guided meditations, mini meditations, bedtime stories, music, and more created just for kids. Start your plan to enhance your child’s meditation journey with Dragon and his friends.