Recent reports and research show incredible results in schools, that have introduced mindfulness practice as part of their curriculum. Not only does the concentration and results in schools improve significantly; children are also happier, healthier, and more open to co-operating and empathising with others. A simple ten-minutes of daily practice, not only improves our well-being but also helps to make our society more compassionate and healthier.
What does it mean to be mindful?
When we practice mindfulness, we focus our entire attention on being in and feeling the present moment. This is the moment when we turn off our thinking mode, which is turned on for most of the day. When in thinking mode, our mind guides and directs us to thousands of tasks and fills our head with unnecessary chatter. Living our life in our mind leads to a disconnection from our body and self.
“Being mindful means to live in the moment of now.”
Learning to be mindful means being able to focus our attention and our senses on the present moment. More importantly, it trains our mind to switch to a mode that nourishes and makes us happy instead of worrying and stressing. Mindfulness is not something that happens miraculously. It comes with practice, which needs to be consistent and conscious, if we want to see the results.
So why introduce mindfulness into your children’s daily routine?
Only a couple of minutes, of mindfulness practice a day, will transform your children, and help them to live a more relaxed, more connected and fulfilled life.
Recent research clearly shows that children who practice mindfulness:
- Are happier, calmer, and healthier.
- Are more creative, relaxed, and confident in pursuing their goals.
- Show improved results in exams and on the sports field due to improved concentration and attention span.
- Find it easier to deal with difficult situations, anxiety, everyday stress, and family issues.
What so great about mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practised anytime and anywhere! Although mindfulness models are being widely used and taught in schools today, you can practice it at home as well. No matter what technique you choose, try to motivate your child to be still and sense what is going on in his/her body in that present moment.
There are many ways to introduce mindfulness playfully, without even talking about it. Once children start to enjoy the practice you can then take the time to explain the concept of mindfulness to them.
“Being mindful starts at home.”
Examples of fun mindfulness practice to use at home:
1. Chocolate melting
Give the children a bar of chocolate each and tell them to close their eyes whilst letting the chocolate slowly melt in their mouths. At the same time ask them to observe the slow melting of the chocolate, staying totally focused on the sensations this action awakens from within.
2. Breathe with trees
Whilst walking through a forest, take the time to observe the trees and how their leaves move in the wind. Invite the children to each get closer to a tree and hug it. Whilst holding on to the trunk of a tree, ask them to focus on their tummy moving up and down with each breath they take and to sense how this feels in their body. Motivate them to start breathing together with the tree, to feel totally present, aware of themselves, and their connection with nature.
3. Observe your breath
Ask the children to observe their breath when air is entering and leaving their nostrils. Let them observe the cool sensation when they breathe in and the warm sensation when they breathe out. If their thoughts start to wander, ask them to remain focused on their breath and entirely present in the sensation.
“Being mindful and happy is our choice.”
Finally, it is important to remember that our life becomes greatly influenced by the way we choose to focus our attention and where we put the focus. By consciously focussing on parts of our body or even simpler – on our breath, we can significantly change our life, improve our well-being and increase our happiness, as well as that of people around us.
If you have any questions, comments, would like more information about mindful practice, or have an experience that you would like to share with me, please leave a comment below or connect with me at: email@example.com.