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How Mindfulness Helps

An excerpt from Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids and Teens by Sherri Gordon

The practice of being mindful allows children and teens to cope with frustration when they are faced with something difficult in their lives. It can also be used when they need to focus their attention on something specific and not allow distractions to derail them. The more kids and teens practice being mindful, the better they get at it.

Plus, it really works. In fact, research shows that practicing mindfulness can improve attention spans for just about anyone—including young people with ADHD who often have trouble paying attention. Overall, people who learn to practice mindfulness are able to pay attention better and are less distractible. Mindfulness also helps individuals stay calm under stress, avoid getting too upset, get along better with others, and be more patient. It can even impact learning, help kids and teens become better listeners, and help them feel happier overall.

Childhood and adolescence are important stages in the developmental process for young people. What happens during these phases of their lives will lay the foundation for their their future mental health.

Mindfulness helps students learn how to pause in all types of situations and respond in a thoughtful way rather than just reacting. This skill is especially helpful when they are faced with challenges or encounter kids who engage in bullying.

Not surprisingly, practicing mindfulness can help kids and teens learn how to manage stress, regulate their emotions, focus on the task at hand, and develop a positive outlook on life.

Kids and teens who use mindfulness also develop a better understanding of how their brains work. They may even develop a sense of curiosity about how their minds work and why they feel the way they feel, which in the end may lead to a deeper understanding of who they are as a person. Research has shown that when mindfulness is used in schools it can provide a range of cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.

Cognitive Benefits

Research has shown that teaching kids mindfulness can impact their cognitive skills, particularly the executive functions performed by the brain. Executive functions are responsible for a person's ability to pay attention, switch focus, organize information, remember details, and engage in planning.

In fact, one study of third-grade students over a period of eight weeks found that when a mindfulness program was implemented in the school, the students showed improvements in regulating their behaviors and focusing on the task at hand when compared to a control group that did not participate in a mindfulness program.

Meanwhile, another study found that students participating in a 24-week mindfulness program scored better on attention-based activities than other students in their elementary school. Likewise, a study of preschoolers found that students with a mindfulness curriculum scored better on academic performance tests. They also showed greater improvement in areas that predict future academic success.

Emotional Benefits

Emotional health, or a positive sense of well-being, is an important component of every child's life. Not only is it the basis for mental health, but it also can help deter mental health issues like:
Anxiety
Stress
Depression
Self-esteem issues
Improved social interactions
Overall, being mindful or participating in mindfulness activities can not only help students manage stress but also increase their sense of well-being. For instance, one study found that after participating in a mindfulness program students were more likely to report feeling optimistic. Meanwhile, another study found that preteens reported feeling calmer, getting better sleep, and having an enhanced sense of well-being after participating in a five-week mindfulness and stress-reduction program.

Social Benefits

Difficulty interacting and communicating with others can lead to problems with learning, understanding, and school climate. But mindfulness programs have been shown to improve these skills and lead to positive results within the school.

For instance, a five-week mindfulness program in an elementary school led to better participation in classroom activities. Meanwhile, a mindfulness program in a high school helped nurture mutual respect and care among students and improve school climate.

Full Article:


Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids and Teens


 BY Sherri Gordon


Gordon, Sherri. “How Kids and Teens Can Benefit From Mindfulness.” Verywell Family, 17 Sept. 2020, www.verywellfamily.com/benefits-of-mindfulness-for-kids-4769017.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

As adults, it is easy to overlook the stressors that kids go through. Giving them a healthy outlet such as mindfulness can help lead them to a better path and be able to regulate the strong emotions that come along with navigating the world. 

ABC of Mindfulness

An excerpt from Medium.com by Ravi Lekkala

Have you ever tried to pull a door when it actually says push, or tripped over not minding your step? You are not alone. And these are only less complicated situations in life.


I’m grateful to my yoga teacher at my primary school who introduced me to the world of meditation. I’ve been practicing meditation for over three decades and interacted with several other practitioners, learning and sharing different approaches. When it comes to mindfulness, three key elements are crucial.


I would like to throw light upon those 3 basic elements of mindfulness. I believe they are fundamental and indispensable in anybody’s mindfulness journey.

A — Awareness

Awareness is the core aspect of mindfulness.

It is a device to observe and acknowledge the present reality dispassionately, moment by moment.


How to practice:

Start your meditation with focus on your breathing and slowly expand your awareness to the extent possible of the five basic senses. If you notice your mind wandering, you acknowledge the deviation and refocus on your breathing and awareness. Then, you further expand your awareness to your thoughts. You try not to control your thoughts but just observe and acknowledge them without judgement.


How it helps:

Not surprisingly, this state of awareness starts reflecting in your day to day life. You notice improvement in your focus and concentration. You are more often attentive and seldom absent-minded.

Please note this is only a by-product of your practice and not an expectation to start with.



B — Being with experience

Being with experience complements and enhances awareness.


How to practice:

You try to observe your thoughts and feelings by fully being with your experience of the current moment. You try not to resist uncomfortable thoughts or encourage comfortable ones. You try to avoid digging past associations or building future aspirations. You just try to know and cherish being with your present experience.


How it helps:

You start to comprehend situations of life with increasing clarity, and start accepting the reality. And this makes you better equipped to be unaffected by the feelings of anxiety and even pleasure.

Please note the reality itself doesn’t change, but your reaction to it does.



C — Choice

Awareness and being with experience leads to a conscious choice.


Once you have a lucid awareness of the present reality and accept the same by being with the experience, you are in a better position to make a clear choice of doing or not doing something. That is in a more free manner without being subject to pressure or prejudice. You will start seeing that the decisions you make and the actions you perform seem like a matter of common sense, and more appropriate.



Like everything else, it takes some practice to become comfortable with meditation. I believe the framework of these 3 basic elements advances your journey of mindfulness and helps you avoid tripping over your next steps of life. Namaste!

Full Article:


ABC of Mindfulness


 BY Ravi Lekkala


Plotkin, Robert. “3 Components of Mindfulness & How They Impact Our Mood.” Technology for Mindfulness, 6 Nov. 2019, technologyformindfulness.com/3-components-of-mindfulness-how-they-impact-our-mood/.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

Having simple steps to Mindfulness can make a concept that seems so overwhelming and difficult a little more comprehensive in a time in which you really need it. Sometimes being in the moment may feel like the last thing you want to do, but when you approach your current situation with attention, you can more easily overcome it.

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