Mindfulness: Not Just A Buzzword
We as society tend to label and compartmentalize new information as we receive it. Often, our preconceived notions will cloud or even inhibit our ability to fully understand something new. Like many things in personal development, many people have already done the same when it comes to mindfulness. While some will characterize it as a buzzword or a fad, those who have allowed themselves to learn what it means, have been able to benefit from it.
Looking to Merriam-Webster for a dictionary definition, mindfulness is defined as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” If we want to simplify it further, you can say it is thinking about ones thinking.
When you understand the definition, you can’t help but realize this is much more than a fad or a trend. In fact, the practice of mindfulness has been around for centuries in various forms. Luckily, we have access to information like never before in history. As a result, we do not need to go to a monastery or ashram to learn how to be mindful and learn about its benefits. Instead, we can access that information easily and apply it to our lives almost instantly. More importantly, we can help our children apply it to their lives.
Why Should We Want To Think About Our Thinking?
A recent study from Queens University in Canada, suggests that the average person has about 6000 thoughts a day. These thoughts will ultimately shape our perceptions, behaviors, and our moods. For children this is critical, because they are growing and developing. As a result, a lot of what they learn becomes engrained in their subconscious mind.
It is important to note that our thoughts create feelings. Those feelings in turn, lead to more thoughts. With this simple understanding, it becomes clear why you would want your child to be aware of their thoughts and feelings.
Ultimately, every parent wants their child to feel good, which is why teaching them tools and skills to help them feel good is essential. Mindfulness helps children become empowered to control their thoughts, feelings, actions, and words. By paying attention to how they are feeling or what they are thinking about, your child can use one the many tools available to shift their focus to once again feel good in a healthy manner. Don’t confuse mindfulness as ignoring or avoiding negative feelings or thoughts. It in fact is the opposite. Your child has the awareness to recognize those feelings, and deal with them in a healthy manner to continue forward.
What Are Benefits Of Mindfulness?
There are many benefits of mindfulness, and the first benefit is the practice of mindfulness itself. What we mean by this, is that your child begins to practice focus and concentration. They begin by being focused on the present moment, the present moment thought, and the present moment feeling. Thus, your child is able to develop and harness a skill that will have lifelong utility.
Another benefit is that your child lowers their anxiety and stress levels. Instead of being consumed by thoughts and feelings that are attributed to anxiety or stress, your child will become aware of them. This means that they will be able to respond to those feelings, as opposed to reacting to those feelings. This subtle but important difference allows them to be in control of how they will handle situations, people, and events that might otherwise cause a great deal of inner turmoil. Instead, you will see them finding their way back to a calm and happy state on their own.
As your child becomes aware that they are in control of themselves and their experiences, they will develop a strong level of confidence. Understanding there will be negative circumstances, and that they are equipped to handle challenges that arise from said circumstances, will give your child the confidence to preserver towards their desired goals and dreams.
When you combine feeling good consistently, being confident, and being able to concentrate and focus on the present moment, you will ultimately have a child with a strong self image. Feeling good starts with loving oneself, and the more your child learns to feel good intrinsically, the more they will fall in love with who they are and their capabilities.
How Do I Practice Mindfulness With My Child?
There is no one way of being mindful. There are many tools at our disposal. You can do something as simple as sitting down and talking to your child. You can ask them what they are thinking about, how that is making them feel, how they would like to feel, and what they think they could do to feel that way.
You could take a minute to do some breathing exercises with your child. With each breath ask them to think about how they are feeling and why they are feeling that way.
Another way is to practice gratitude for 1 minute with your child. You can sit down and think of all the things they are grateful for in the moment. At the end, you can ask them how they feel and if they would like to continue feeling like that way or not.
There is plenty of information and plenty of tools to help your child become mindful. OH-KS has programs to help you as well. It doesn’t matter where or when you and your child start, just as long as you do. They deserve it and so do you!
Rachna Patel is the founder of OH-KS Corporation, a company that creates one-of-a-kind programs and materials, to help children ultimately become happy, healthy, confident, have a strong growth mindset, and so much more. To learn more about their latest products, you can visit their website at www.OH-KS.com