Written by KTC Occupational Therapist, Angela Costi.
There is no secret of the growing evidence of the positive benefits of regularly practising mindfulness. It is reported to improve the mental, emotional, and physical health of adults and young people. In well conducted mindfulness interventions, participants report reduced stress, anxiety, reactivity, improved sleep and self-esteem, feel calmer and more self-aware and an improved ability to manage their emotions.
The most amazing aspect is brain imaging on people that practiced mindful meditation showed an altered structure and function of the brain with improved quality of both thought and feeling.
So, what is Mindfulness? It is the act of paying attention in the present moment without judgement. It is simply being here and now and not worrying about the past or present thoughts or events. It can be done in an instance, anywhere, at any time. It relaxes the body and calms the mind. Let's do a quick one!
Look at your palm of your hand, study the lines, follow them with your eyes, look at all the branches of lines, see them on your fingers, let any thoughts come and go and keep your focus on your palm, breathing calmly.
It is not about blanking the mind - but not paying attention to those hundreds of thoughts that enter your mind.
So, then what is meditation? Meditation and Mindfulness are two terms which complement each other and are often interchangeable. You will read conflicting information on each on the internet, but both involve three abilities:
1. Relax the body
2. Pay attention or focus on something
3. Manage your thoughts
Think of Meditation as the umbrella term. It is a 'longer' practice of mindfulness and has been practiced for over 5000 years. It can be Sitting Meditation, Walking Meditation, Body Scan Meditation, Breath Meditation, Visualisation Meditation, Yoga - a form of movement meditation, Tai Chi… Whichever one you choose, the long-term health benefits are ones to positively enhance you and your children's lives. Once you start and give yourself time to adjust to this new 'quieting the mind' - you will enjoy this peaceful space, something so far between in this busy world of ours.
Mindful Meditation is a passion I've had 20 years personal experience with. It is an intervention I love bringing into practice in therapy with the children. Seeing their calmness and their ability to manage their breath and enjoy a few moments of stillness shows dedication and a desire to achieve something new and different.
Need a guided meditation to take you there instantly? Check out these apps:
Moshi for Kids
The Mindfulness App
(*Kids Therapy Club and Angela Costi have no affiliation with these apps).