So what exactly is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness simply means present moment awareness, without judgement. It is about noticing and accepting what is ‘here’ in each moment as it unfolds.
Mindfulness is as simple as bringing our full awareness to a moment spent with our children, or seeing the beauty in nature while out for a walk or taking a few deep breaths before an important meeting, so our mind is not exhausted with past/future thoughts all of the time.
Meditation is the formal practise of Mindfulness - where we take time out and intentionally focus on the present moment: focusing on the breath, body sensations, sounds, thoughts, feelings, taste!
Mindfulness is by no means airy fairy nor is it religious. Mindfulness is an all-inclusive, secular practice irrespective of ability or cultural background. It can benefit adults of all ages, teens and children. It can help children with additional needs, ADHD and children on the autism spectrum.
Mindfulness is backed by thousands of studies and neuroscientists now view Mindfulness and Meditation as the top way to upgrade your brain, with the potential to transform your life in many ways. Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence to improve the mental, emotional, social health and wellbeing of children, young people and adults.
Our children’s lives are busy. Their minds can become cluttered and access to too much information leads to overthinking. Children worry and stress over lots of things. More and more children are presenting with challenging behaviour, symptoms of anxiety, low self-esteem and self-doubt. Mindfulness practice offers the space to calm the busy mind. This in turn gives children the ability to manage behaviour and emotions, encouraging content, peaceful and happy children.
Does Mindfulness actually work? Yes - here is the proof!
Mindfulness is backed by 1000's of studies. I have worked in 50 schools all over Ireland and Northern Ireland - with 3069 children to date. Through my own research (child, parent, teacher evaluations) I have gathered the following information:
94% of children say Mindfulness practise has helped them (group, schools & private sessions).
98% of parents have noted significant changes in their child's ability to cope with life's ups and downs (private sessions).
Children's teachers noted 89% of children had better concentration and ability to settle themselves (school sessions).
There are some great published research papers about the effects of Mindfulness training. Click https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.02025/full to read an article by Charlotte E. Vickery from the School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, UK and Dusana Dorjee from the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, UK.