The Conversation

Editor's note

For many of us, the weekend offers some time to unwind from the week. Whether work has been stressful, or we’re simply seeking respite from the demands of our increasingly busy lives, there are many ways we can relax.

The ancient practice of meditation hails from Eastern cultures, but has become popular all over the world. While many people meditate for its spiritual dimension, meditation is also commonly used to manage stress.

Importantly, the notion that meditation calms the body and improves overall wellbeing is actually backed by science. As Michaela Pascoe writes, meditation – and yoga too – affect the brain’s stress response system to help us feel more relaxed. These practices can even lower our blood pressure.

So if you’re looking for a new way to de-stress this weekend, you might like to give meditation a try. For now though, relax and enjoy this edition of Thrive.

Phoebe Roth


Different types of meditation can decrease our stress levels to varying degrees. From

It’s not all in your mind: how meditation affects the brain to help you stress less

Michaela Pascoe, Victoria University

Meditation and yoga affect the brain's stress response system to help us feel more relaxed. They can even lower our blood pressure.

From the archives

Long-term meditators have larger sections of the brain responsible for regulating emotion. Tezatrataz/Phra Ajan Jerapunyo Abbot of Watkungtaphao

Beyond spirituality: the role of meditation in mental health

Jonathan Krygier, University of Sydney; Andrew H Kemp, University of Sydney

Meditation has traditionally been associated with Eastern mysticism but science is beginning to show that cultivating a “heightened” state of consciousness can have a major impact on our brain, the way…

Meditation, mindfulness and mind-emptiness

Ramesh Manocha, University of Sydney

Ever been unable to sleep because you can’t switch off that stream of thoughts that seems to flow incessantly, mercilessly through your head? When your mental noise distracts you from the task at hand…

Three reasons to get your stress levels in check in 2018

Stephen Mattarollo, The University of Queensland; Michael Nissen, The University of Queensland

Stress has subtle, underlying effects on almost every part of the body, including the heart, gut and immune system.

Why meditation should be taught in schools

Lea Waters, University of Melbourne

New research in the fields of psychology, education and neuroscience shows teaching meditation in schools is having positive effects on students' well-being, social skills and academic skills.

Can an app help us find mindfulness in today’s busy high-tech world?

Rafael A Calvo, University of Sydney; Dorian Peters, University of Sydney

Apple's smartwatch promises to optimise our productivity and competitiveness. But can the new Breathe app for the watch help us to relax and make us mindful?

Expert answers to serious, weird and wacky questions

A study found the headache went away when participants were given decaf but didn’t know. nathan dumlao unsplash

Health Check: why do I get a headache when I haven’t had my coffee?

Merlin Thomas, Monash University

We've all experienced that tense pain in our heads when we're withdrawing from caffeine. But why?

Earth experiences constant volcanic activity - here’s Indonesia’s Mount Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) photographed in July 2018. EPA/AAP

I’ve Always Wondered: Why are the volcanoes on Earth active, but the ones on Mars are not?

Helen Maynard-Casely, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Compared to Earth, more "oomph" is required to bring magma to the surface of Mars, and this is probably why we haven't seen any recent eruptions on the red planet.

Curious Kids: how does gravity pull things down to Earth?

Monica Grady, The Open University

It's not just Earth: everything in the universe has it's own pull because of gravity – even you. Here's how it works.

Curious Kids: What sea creature can attack and win over a blue whale?

Wally Franklin, Southern Cross University; Trish Franklin, Southern Cross University

The only sea creature known to attack blue whales is the orca, also known as a 'killer whale'. But humans present a much bigger threat to them.

Top picks from the week


Featured jobs

Director, Mba Program (Associate Professor)

La Trobe University — Bundoora, Victoria

Philanthropy Assistant

RMIT University — Melbourne, Victoria

Research Fellow

University of Melbourne — Parkville, Victoria

Associate Professor/Professor (Social Work)

University of Wollongong — Wollongong, New South Wales

More Jobs

Featured events

Embracing the F-word: has feminism had its day?

State Library Theatrette, Enter via Entry 3, 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia — La Trobe University

Executive Presence for Senior Leaders

900 Dandenong Road, Caulfield East, Victoria, 3800, Australia — Monash University

Global Business Innovation Conversations: Manufacturing Rebooted

Engineers Australia Level 31 600 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Australia — RMIT University

Barbara Dicker Oration

ATC 101 Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Advanced Technologies Centre, Swinburne University of Technology, 401 - 451 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122, Australia — Swinburne University of Technology

More events

Contact us here to list your job, or here to list your event.

For sponsorship opportunities, email us here