Mindfulness — a powerful tool or hippy ideology?
Mindfulness, it’s the new buzzword that’s been thrown around my health experts for the past year. Across Sydney, mind, health and body studios have been spreading like wildfire. But what does it actually mean and is it medical mumbo jumbo made popular by wheatgrass-drinking and meditating types?
How does one become mindful? Do you need to chant and clear your mind or is it simpler than that?
At a basic level, Mindfulness is the ability to be completely aware of who you are and what you are doing. It’s paying attention to the thoughts, emotions and experiences as they are unfolding. Stripping it back even further, it’s about being in the moment—the here, the now. Not worrying about what’s happening next or in a few days from now. Some people might even refer to it as taking time to stop and smell the roses.
Teaching your children to be mindful may be helpful In combatting behavioural problems such as attention and ADHD, autism, mood swings, anxiety and depression. The benefits of applying mindfulness can promote less bullying, encourage compassion, increase memory and improve grades.
There’s still a lot of research to be done for conclusive rulings on the full extent of how effective mindfulness on children, but small amount of studies that have been published show a reduction in anxiety and depression, as well as increased reasoning and thinking skills.
Is there a special way to teach my child mindfulness?
Yes, mindfulness can be targeted to children in ways that are more enjoyable and understandable for them. Suggestions include things such as focussing on a chiming instrument like a bell or gong, or instead of focussing on just the breath placing a stuffed toy on their abdomen and focussing on the way their breath makes their stuffed animal rise and fall.