Every new generation has its own sources of stress… everything from school pressures, friendship dramas, cyberbullying, dramas at home, and even concerns about social issues like the environment and human rights.
Dealing with daily life can be stressful, and the rising rates of anxiety and depression among teens and even younger children is why so many concerned parents are turning to mindfulness as a way of helping their kids cope with negative stress.
Mindfulness is all about being ‘present’ in each moment… and not worrying or thinking about the past or the future. It means slowing down the mind and taking notice of what you are doing, thinking, and feeling, in a relaxing, stress-free, and non-judgemental manner, and usually involves some combination of meditation, relaxation, deep breathing, and/or visualisation, which creates the following benefits:
Executive functions performed by the brain include the ability to concentrate and focus, organise information, remember details, and engage in planning. When consistently practicing mindfulness techniques (over just several short weeks), students can show measurable improvements in regulating their behaviors and focusing on the task at hand. Kids have also been shown to perform significantly better at other performance-based tests and achieve greater improvement in areas that predict future academic success.
A positive sense of well-being is an important foundation for good long-term mental health. Mindfulness activities, not only help kids to manage stress but also increase their sense of optimism. A greater sense of inner calm, better quality sleep, and an enhanced sense of well-being can also be reached.
Difficulty interacting and communicating with others can lead to greater learning challenges, however, mindfulness techniques can produce more positive results. This is achieved through the facilitation of a more accepting and compassionate environment where emotions and impulses are better regulated and the concept of ‘self’ is enhanced.
Ideally, mindfulness should be practiced every day…. and when children (and parents) learn to do this as part of their everyday ‘normal’, a much more positive and stress-free outlook on life will be achieved!