There’s a saying “the past is depression and the future is anxiety”. It stands to reason then that staying present cultivates a foundation for mental wellbeing.
Mindfulness, as you have no doubt read or heard, is about being in the present moment. It’s also about using not just our five senses but also the sensations of proprioception (what’s going on in the space around us) and interoception (what’s going on inside us) and doing all that non-judgementally, to simply observe the moment, rather than judge the experience that we are having as either positive or negative.
By focusing on the here and now, we are able to suspend our thoughts, feelings, experiences and judgement, to bring about a sense of peace, clarity and self-awareness. Increasing our level of self-awareness means getting to know ourselves better, which then leads to more thoughtful choices, decisions and actions.
However, it is very difficult to do all of this in the hyperkinetic environment our kids are now growing up in. Overloaded with external stimulation and constantly bombarded with the distraction of technology and devices, it’s no wonder being silent and still can make them feel bored and uncomfortable or anxious.
In addition, with the expectation and pressure to multitask (which is really just constantly switching our attention), learn high volumes of information and perform at the mind and body’s maximum capacity for long periods of time (e.g. school then sport), the brain’s neural pathways can become scrambled, making it difficult to focus and concentrate on a single task.
Being constantly busy can cause excessive stress on our minds and bodies and excessive thinking about the past and the future can cause anxiety and depression. The increase in the number of kids being diagnosed with a mental illness and the increase in adolescents committing suicide is alarming for any parent.
They need to know that it’s not only okay to sit still and do nothing but that it can increase cognitive functions such as learning and memory, as well as productivity. Practices like meditation cultivate the relaxation response that our bodies need in between stressful events or prolonged states of busyness.
Teaching children the life skills of mindfulness, cultivates a level of self-awareness and self-discovery. Living moment to moment, with a greater level of consciousness, enables them to make thoughtful choices and decisions, with kindness and compassion, to themselves, their friends, families, the greater community and the environment.
Author: Michelle Eckles
tags: meditation, meditation classes Sunshine Coast