MINDFULNESS FOR CHILDREN
Without Mindfulness: Stimulus > Reaction
With Mindfulness: Stimulus > Mindfulness > Response
Mindfulness training helps children engage in the present moment. It teaches kids to create the space to breathe, relax, and be with whatever emotion is present so that they can respond thoughtfully. It has the ability to reduce impulsive reactions.
Does this sound too good to be true?
Mindfulness-Based Interventions have approximately 35 years of research and development. Jon Kabitt-Zinn, Ph.D. developed mindfulness programs in the late 1970s at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Later secular mindfulness programs were integrated into the health care system and hospitals.
Currently, mindfulness programs are being offered in health care facilities, mental health programs, and education. In fact, a recent study in 2011 by Harvard neuropsychologist Britta Holzel and her colleagues found that an eight-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program resulted in increases in gray matter concentration in brain regions involved in learning, memory, emotional regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.
How do these discoveries translate to your child’s brain?
- Better focus and concentration
- Increased sense of calm
- Improves impulse control
- Increased self-awareness
- Skillful responses to difficult emotions
- Increased empathy, attunement, and understanding of others
- Development of natural conflict resolution skills
Simply put, mindfulness helps children develop the life skills necessary to be a healthy, happy human being. By teaching our children to take a few minutes each day to sit quietly, breathe, and listen, we are helping them develop the ability to pay attention to what is happening all around them. We are teaching them to be with their emotional experience without blocking or reacting. Children learn to live in their bodies and experience their inner landscape (emotional/mental health) with a heightened sense of curiosity and wholeheartedness.
Why is Mindfulness training important for your family?
Beyond all the benefits listed above, mindfulness develops and strengthens the parent-child relationship by increasing intuition. The practice increases the development of executive functions in the brain which affects our ability to sense situations or have a “gut feeling” about something. This process results in both parent and child developing a deeper connection to each other and the ability to attune to each other’s feelings.
By teaching children to cultivate these empathic qualities toward themselves, it inspires compassion for all living things.
Mindfulness for Children is one more tool to bring peace to planet Earth.
Above is a picture of Antonia Torello, one of my yoga students and one of the stars of my short film “Child Evolve,” a film on yoga, meditation, and mindfulness for children. Stay tuned, Coming Soon!