Teaching mindfulness to kids and has been described by Amy Saltzman M.D. as “the truest form of preventive medicine I know.”
When children learn mindfulness they:
- Practice bringing their attention to their present moment experience
- Exercise the ‘muscle of their attention’
- Learn to do so with compassion (kindness)
Learning mindfulness in a group with their peers, they discover that they are not alone in their struggles, and have the opportunity to connect with others honestly and authentically in a safe space.
Children’s lives are increasingly stressful. Many children feel stressed from living in our fast-paced, media-saturated, multi-tasking world, and many are stressed about performing and succeeding.
An alarming number of children are being diagnosed with ADHD, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviours.
This diagram (from http://www.mindfullifetoday.com) illustrates what’s happening in the brains and minds of stressed kids, and how mindfulness training can help:
Mindfulness teaches children skills to help them to manage the stresses of modern life. While the scientific research into teaching mindfulness to kids is in its infancy, it is beginning to provide a basis for the efficacy of this practice.