Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mindfulness Practice with Youth

(learn more by visiting their website below)

Resilient Kids is an organization that promotes mindfulness as a necessary part of a child's day at home or at school. Especially for youth this is important, as boundless energies tend to build not breakdown. The western world lives in a culture that rewards non-stop activity and hard work. While those can be good things, we are not meant to live in a constant state of stress induced production, rushing from one thing to the next.

Human beings, especially youth, need time to pause and let the chaos in their brain settle, reflect and then recollect. Equipping youth with the tools to have more control over their own minds and bodies is a priceless lesson.


The great thing about meditation is not only that it has filing cabinets full of research asserting its benefits, but also that it is free. You don't have to be making six figures to have access to mindfulness and meditation, in fact you don't need any money at all to reap the benefits. 


This is an awesome idea to help youth with mindfulness practices. This gives them something tangible that can guide their meditation, and help calm nervous energy. Its purpose can be invented ! But I find it useful to use each bead as a counting mechanism or to repeat positive affirmations, touching each bead as you go. You could use each bead to represent something your grateful for. Make it your own!                                                                                                                                                                       (click here to get DIY instructions)                                                                                                                                                                                 

I've taught mindfulness and simple breathing techniques to groups of children as young as three years old, and they not only mastered it, they transformed the activity. Even when kids are this young, deep-breathing and time for self-reflection became something they begged me to do everyday. "Miss Donna, when can we do yogurt (yoga) on the rug today?!". Although they are not conscious of its exact intentions or benefits, I can see the classroom energy changing. I watch as youth fought over a Frisbee, and instead of tears or hitting, or immediately running to me to solve the issue, --I see them stop themselves walk away from the group and start breathing. This is power, to both be in-tune with and manage your emotions. Gaining control over your mind, taking charge of your well-being, and critical reflection are the products of meditation practice. Youth can benefit from this immensely as they form their identities.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

*Berkeley has published great research on the benefits and before and after results from studying youth engaging in mindfulness at school. They state:

" increasing number of studies have shown the potential benefits of mindfulness practices for students’ physical health, psychological well-being, social skills, academic performance, and more. Other studies have indicated that mindfulness may be effective for reducing stress and burnout in teachers and administrators as well."

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