Introduction to Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps us recognize what is going on in the present moment. By allowing you to re-focus your attention and thoughts, this practice develops a deep relationship with your mind; helping you tap into and cultivate the innate“resources for learning, growing, healing and potentially transforming your understanding of who you are and how you might live more wisely and with greater well-being, meaning, and happiness in the world”(Jon Kabat Zinn).
We all have a seed of mindfulness in us. If we keep practicing, that seed will grow strong, and any time we need it, the energy of mindfulness will be there for us.
Today’s children face all kinds of challenges that threaten to derail them from different pressures at school to challenging home lives. Unless they are given the means to cope, their feelings of sadness, fear and anger can easily spill over in their homes – and into society.
Mindfulness addresses these issues and empowers children with life skills by:
- improving children’s self-control and self-regulation skills
- strengthening children’s resiliency and decision making
- developing children’s positive social and emotional skills, such as empathy, compassion, patience and generosity
- building stronger communication skills
- enhancing self-esteem
- bolstering children’s enthusiasm for learning
- increasing children’s’ academic success
- reducing peer-to-peer conflict and developing interpersonal skills
- diminishing stress, anxiety and hostility
- enhancing creativity and freeing the mind to produce less routinized thoughts
Mindfulness enhances total well-being by making our children happy, strong and balanced, helping infuse our home environment with joy and optimism.
Often, the focus of our education system is on competitive performance, with little emphasis on social and emotional learning. It is essential that parents help fulfill this gap by watering the seed of mindfulness in their children and mindful parenting.
In today’s society, one of the most challenging, demanding and stressful roles, is parenting.
The way in which we parent is crucial as it determines:
- the heart, soul and consciousness of our youth
- their experience of meaning and connection
- their imperative life skills
- their deepest feelings about themselves, and their place in the world
Yet we are usually thrown into parenting without any or little preparation, guidance or support. Mindfulness cultivates greater clarity, calmness and insight to parent with greater wisdom. To parent consciously we must engage in an inner work on ourselves alongside the outer work of nurturing and caring for our children; the essence of mindful parenting.
Mindful parenting is about connecting to our children by listening to our own hearts. It helps us become a source of unconditional love in the moment to moment interactions with our children. Parenting mindfully can be healing and transformative for both children and parents.