The Power of Mindfulness Meditation – Helping Children Change

How might our adult lives be different if we’d learned about mindfulness as children?

A lot of us didn’t start hearing about mindfulness meditation until we were well into adulthood, not to mention well into managing a hectic and stressful lifestyle.

Troublesome habits can form as early as elementary school, as children attempt to juggle homework assignments and test scores, and navigate peer pressure and parental involvement (either too much or too little).
Mindfulness in school
But a program called Mindful Schools is helping to change this by introducing mindfulness to students as early as first grade … and it’s making a difference.

Mindful Schools, along with the University of California, Davis, recently conducted the largest randomized, controlled study on mindfulness and children to date.

Researchers randomly assigned 915 children to either a treatment or a control group.

Participants in the treatment group received just four hours of mindfulness training over six weeks while the control group carried on with their regular classes.

At the end of the six-week program, results showed that the treatment group experienced significant improvements in behavior – especially in paying attention and social compliance – compared to the control group.

These findings are pretty remarkable, and suggest that mindfulness practice doesn’t have to be overly time-consuming to impact children’s behavior.

Plus, the results showed that mindfulness can even go beyond language barriers, as 68 percent of the participants were English Language Learners.

If you’d like to know more about the study, you can access additional information at mindfulschools.org.

You can also find out other ways that mindfulness is being introduced in schools (and how it’s impacting teachers and students alike), by checking this out.

Have you ever introduced mindfulness to a young person? Please share your experience below.

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8 Comments

  1. Gonzalo says:

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  2. Daniel Lopez says:

    Interesting article! (Insert something specific to article). I’m actually volunteering at an organization that provides educational opportunities to under-privileged Guatemalan children. The program is a week-long camp that teaches leadership skills through the approach of Mindfulness. It’s a very interesting idea and program…..check it out: indiegogo.com/ninosdellago/

  3. Denis Ladbrook says:

    So we’ve heard about the Mindful Nation, Mindfulness in professional practice and with various patients (thank you for this great series, Ruth), but does anyone specialise on the Mindful Marriage (or intimate relationship) or the Mindful family?

    Denis

  4. Katie says:

    I can attest to Martys breathing track. The changes in my life are remarkable. It provides my mind with something to focus on when it is feeling scattered. All you have to do is focus on inhales and exhales and the rewards are endless.
    This simple practice has expanded into almost every aspect of my life.
    My personal and professional lives have transformed into quite simple, peaceful ways of being.
    And really, 5 minutes or so a day. in the car, maybe the bathroom at work anywhere. Just being present, letting all flow through you and noticing your breath.
    Thanks Marty for this life changing tool! I cannot thank you enough.

  5. Me gustaría conocer el programa.

  6. Marty says:

    I have worked on a model to make mindfulness seamless, simpler, concrete and reparable under our adrenal stress response. I spent five years at a zen center of abstract ideas of awakening, awareness, no self and counting my breath.

    Counting the breaths always engaged my cognitive mind. I knew this was not correct. I studied and asked others what their experience was like meditating. We all got lost at the top of the inhale and bottom of the exhale.

    So, I adopted an X as inhale and exhale, then I used two flat arches to connect the inhales and exhales.

    http://ptsdawayout.com/2012/11/02/mindfulness-for-beginners-no-problem/

    This is the model. Now, I noticed that this infinity look like model has balance. The inhale and exhale now had a relationship with each other. The transitions or the pauses also had a relationship. The mind and body was being balsam ex now as we practiced.

    Next, I called the a breathing track which is used for focus skills development. If you never associate mindfulness or meditation with early practice we eliminate all the negative connotations.

    My model can be seen. Counting the breaths you see nothing. You can touch my model. Counting is abstract. You can also follow your breath with your finger as we breath with eyes open then closed.

    This is a simple concrete, transitional model, that is all present. it withstands a violent trigger firing or fear launching. It is free and can be taken with you in your mind.

    This model accomplish for some so far, what it took years at a zen center to developed.

    The goal is not awakening. The goal is to build focus and stay present in a no thought space. That will happen easily if we develop focus on the breath, and let the landscape of thoughts and emotion clear.

    It is simple and small five minute practices and application with every trigger or negative emotions deletes cortisol and stables the nervous system. Like lifting weights once progress is felt it should be easy going till integration is complete.

    You can use this model and print it out and practice a little e Rey session. You ability to impact your clients will rise a thousand per cent.

    Thanks.

    • Fernanda says:

      Throughout the great pattern of thigns you get an A for effort and hard work. Where you misplaced me was on all the specifics. As people say, the devil is in the details And that couldn’t be more correct at this point. Having said that, permit me reveal to you just what did work. The article (parts of it) is certainly incredibly engaging which is possibly the reason why I am making the effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, even though I can see a jumps in reason you come up with, I am definitely not sure of just how you seem to connect your details that help to make the final result. For the moment I shall yield to your point but trust in the future you connect your facts much better.

  7. Marty says:

    I agree mindfulness practice can be limited in time however great impact. We can apply mindfulness just as say as we dissociate into random thought. training the mind to slow down , to let the landscape of thought clear on its own.

    happiness and the joyful emotions are activated when we use mindfulness correctly. The parasympathetic nervous system is activated. I would think over active adolescents would be helped tremendously by this practice. ADD and ADHD would benefit.

    Athletes or anyone using musical instruments, trying to excel or study with more focus and comprehension.

    Starting early would give them the most valuable skill in life, I believe. they would develop and have more happiness and live a fuller life than most.

    All from the miracle of life, our breath.

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