Alice Miller wrote: “whatever we put into a child’s soul we naturally will find there, but if we become conscious of what we are doing, we then have the chance to free ourselves from the constrictions of the past” Children learn from what we say and don’t say and what we do and don’t do.
Mindfulness is paying attention here and now, non-judgmentally, with kindness and curiosity “Parents and teachers tell kids 100 times a day to pay attention,” said researcher Philipee R. Goldin. “But we never teach them how.”
Dr. Amy Saltzman, co-director of the mindfulness study at Stanford, said the initial findings showed increased control of attention and “less negative internal chatter — what one girl described as ‘the gossip inside my head: I’m stupid, I’m fat or I’m going to fail math’,” Dr. Saltzman said.
The mindfulness techniques, such as focused breathing or concentration on a single object, are loosely adapted from the works of Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn is also a best-selling author who teaches mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness.
Many have followed the mindfulness path, leading to greater sanity, balance and well-being – even in times of high stress, uncertainty, pain and sorrow.
- Becoming aware of the breath
- Feeling various physical sensations of an emotion
- Noticing thoughts as they pass through the mind
- Paying attention to all the sounds in the room
- Noticing what happens in the body when there is stress
- Watching the thoughts that arise when there is boredom
- Feeling the stomach rise and fall with each breath
Mindfulness practice is widely used in business, healthcare, and education to improve attention and well being.
Mindfulness practice does not depend on or interfere with any religion, cultural context or belief system. Mindfulness can be completely secular. Fortune 500 companies provide mindfulness instruction to their employees to reduce on-the-job stress, hundreds of hospitals refer patients to courses in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction to develop skills to cope with physical and emotional pain, and dozens of schools (private and public) across the country are using mindfulness practices to help their students succeed.
Mindfulness practice can save time in school
Mindfulness practices help students focus and pay attention. A few minutes of mindfulness practice can improve the learning environment. Many teachers report that on the days when students practice mindfulness, the students are calmer and the class accomplishes more than on days when mindfulness is not practiced.