Examinations, peer pressure, homework, and tuition are just a few of the many stressors faced by students. These could lead to anxiety and even unhappiness. Schools do provide stress reduction training and workshops. However, these classes may not be sufficient. Mindfulness is gaining popularity in the field of Psychology. It has seen a growing base of evidence supporting its use as a method of stress reduction.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness, as the name suggests, is focusing on the present moment. It can be practiced anywhere, even at home. The benefits of mindfulness listed below would explain why it should be part of your child’s routine.
Benefit 1: Stress Reduction
Activities relating to mindfulness would reduce anxiety and stress. The focus is placed on the present, instead of being worried about the past or future. Research has shown that school-based mindfulness programmes reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in students. One study found that these results maintained for even up to six months after completion. In the same vein, the benefits of mindfulness also include improvement of students’ mental health.
Benefit 2: Helps Children with ADD and ADHD
Scientific research has found that mindfulness improves attention and focus. Psychologist James M. Swanson suggests mindfulness directly targets the causes of ADHD. Though medications are available, dependence on medication has a non-lasting effect. Mindfulness is suggested to be an effective tool to aid children. They can be used together with medication.
Benefit 3: Improves Academic Performance
Academic improvement is evident through meditation programs in schools. A school in California added a 30 minutes meditation activity into their curriculum. Students became happier. They also had better attendance and improved results. Also, the anxiety-reducing effect of mindfulness was found to benefit students during important school tests. Moreover, mindfulness results in improvement of working memory. Working memory is crucial for building reasoning skills.
Benefit 4: Increases Empathy
Mindfulness also leads to one being more focused on enhancing relationships. There is a genuine attempt to pay attention to the others. Evidence suggests that meditation increases kindness and empathy towards others. As a parent, you can increase relational mindfulness by having a daily group activity. This can be having dinner or even a family sharing session.
Your child may find mindfulness a chore initially. However, work at it so that they too can experience the benefits of mindfulness. There are apps for guided meditation like Headspace, Thrive Global and Smiling Mind. You can also practice mindfulness with your kids. This can be done by setting aside time each day to meditate together.
When life stresses you out, remember to take a moment to stop and breathe!