Mindfulness, meditation – these terms aren’t recent entries in our vocabulary. Modern psychology has been integrating mindfulness into therapy for decades, while its earliest forms date to ancient Buddhist teachings. Meanwhile, meditation is of course an ancient practice that dates back centuries, or even millennia.
How do these skills help?
Mindfulness is the process or skill of paying attention to what’s going on in the moment. It’s far more than just knowing what’s happening right now, but also includes a sense of self-awareness and being truly present. It can be easy to get lost in one’s thoughts and stresses about the past or future, and to bring peace and tranquility to the present can lead to a variety of helpful benefits, ranging from decreased stress and better sleep, to improved decision-making and concentration.
Mindfulness can be achieved through various forms of training, but oftentimes, meditation is a central aspect of achieving it. Studies have shown that meditation induces a profound relaxation response, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress levels, and overall has many benefits to health, both physiological and mental.
Why should your child get started from an early age?
The brain of a child is at the most malleable, impressionable stage it’ll ever be. By starting mindfulness and meditation work during these critical developmental phases, children may experience amplified benefits that will carry over well after school’s done.
Some evidence indicates that children have better grades, attendance, and overall mood, after being exposed to regular meditation sessions. Other studies have shown that meditation and other therapy that involves mindfulness can improve the behavioral issues associated with ADHD, which is a serious challenge among many children today.
How you can get your child started
It’s certainly a benefit if you teach your child to meditate at home, and provide instruction in mindfulness, but there are limits to such home-based instruction. More effective is choosing a school that actively supports mindfulness and meditation within its educational profile. Having workshops and events held by professionals will ensure that students get the best education in learning how to be mindful and practicing meditation, while ensuring that teaching these skills doesn’t eat up their personal time.
Swiss International School Dubai has recognized the importance of teaching mindfulness and meditation, and as such has begun offering workshops and events to expose and educate students. SISD recently held a “Week of Understanding,” offering six whole days of awareness events and workshops that included film screenings with reflective talks, heartful relaxation, activity sessions during break times for meditation practice, and even “Odd Socks Day,” which celebrated the uniqueness and differences among every person.
In addition, Primary Year Students have also collaborated with Grade 8 students to create a comic book, “Henry the Helper,” that acts as a friendship guide and helps students with social problems. Henry the Helper will be placed in every classroom, assuring students of a resource that everyone can benefit from.