Mindfulness Helps Kids Cope
Tips on mindfulness from a 12-year-old boy.
Mindfulness is the conscious process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and other effective tools. Mindfulness trains you to develop moment-by-moment awareness of mental, emotional, and physical events and states of being. By allowing your mind to simply feel in the moment, mindfulness contributes to psychological experiences that are associated with an increase in calm and happiness. Studies have shown that mindfulness alleviates stress, anger, depression, and anxiety. It also increases productivity, improves memory and attention, and boosts overall well-being.
When we think of mindfulness and meditation, we typically think of adults practicing this art to create positive changes in mood and attitude. However, schools and child psychologists are becoming increasingly aware of the effectiveness of mindfulness with children and adolescents, and are beginning to incorporate it into the daily school routine and in mental health practices.
As with adults, mindfulness teaches the child to not obsess over their feelings, but rather be aware of their feelings, accept them, and let them go. Allowing oneself to let go of “control” and redirecting their energy into heightened calm and awareness creates emotional space, positivity, and healing. Meditation, one way to practice mindfulness, helps children face stressors and manage their emotions in healthier ways. Increasing a child’s capacity to tolerate disappointment, stress, anger, frustration, and sadness is key to helping a child thrive in the face of adversity, making him or her more productive, healthier, and happier.
In working with a young boy who faced multiple challenges beyond his control at school and at home, mindfulness has been a life-saver. Here are his thoughts which he would like to share with other kids to encourage them to practice mindfulness too.
What Helps Me Be Calm
By Luke P.
There are many ways to be calm, such as taking deep breaths, counting to ten, and much more. Overall, I think that meditating, talking with adults, and listening to relaxing noises are a few good ways to calm myself, and here are some reasons why.
Meditating and practicing mindfulness is one of the best ways to help with my stress, anger, and other crazy emotions. Not only does it make me feel peaceful, but it makes my brain and body feel peaceful as well. As I sit down on my soft grey sofa and close my eyes, I imagine I am on a beach, and it feels like my mind is in heaven. The sounds of the glistening, smooth waves cool down my body and the sounds of seagulls and birds make me think that I am suntanning on a beautiful beach in Hawaii.
As I listen to mindfulness recordings, the voice is smooth, like an angel. As I hear it in the back of my head, I think that I am flying through the brightest, most colorful rainbow. When I finally open my eyes, I feel like I woke up from a dream that felt like reality. It feels like the most soothing, relaxing thing in the whole wide world.
Next, talking with an adult or friend in calm ways is very comforting. Doesn’t it just seem so peaceful to have some alone time with a grownup or friend? When someone like my mom or friend walks up to me and asks, “What’s wrong?” it always feels safe for me to just let out my tears.
So why do I feel safe one on one? Talking with someone in private just feels a lot better than talking to someone with hundreds of people around. Plus, you know you will feel safe talking to a friend one on one because you know that they will not tell anyone to try to embarrass you.
Last, relaxing noises help me keep calm. If I am stressed or mad about something, listening to a few chimes just does the trick. They melt my stressful thoughts away with sound waves, and they help me remember to take a breather and not worry so much. It’s like an illusion to my brain, but a good one. All I have to do is close my eyes for a minute, listen, and BOOM! I am as calm as Sidartha Guatama, the god of meditation. It is one of the best ways to control my anger and stress and I really rely on it to help me keep calm.
Overall, these are three ways that help me keep calm and feel peaceful. I hope that these methods will work for you and help you become a more peaceful person as well.
These are wise words for a 12-year-old boy. Given the increasing research on the effectiveness of mindfulness on the mind and body, it is recommended that schools, teachers, parents, and counselors incorporate mindfulness in kids’ lives on a daily basis.