Origin of mindfulness
The History and Origins Mindfulness
Here at PositivePsychology.com, we have been discussing several different aspects of mindfulness.
We explored various ways to learn about mindfulness, practice it, and even study the art of teaching mindfulness to others.
But where did mindfulness come from? And why have so many people in the West recently become so interested in it?
There is no easy answer to this question, but one solution is to trace the lineage of mindfulness from early Eastern religions to its modern, secular presence in Western science.
This article will cover the history of mindfulness; its roots in Hinduism and Buddhism, how it relates to yoga, and how it came to be popular in the Western world. Finally, we will discuss the most relevant aspect of mindfulness for our purposes—how it fits into the field of positive psychology.
Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Mindfulness Exercises for free. These science-based, comprehensive exercises will not only help you cultivate a sense of inner peace throughout your daily life but will also give you the tools to enhance the mindfulness of your clients, students, or employees.
This Article Contains:
- The History of Mindfulness
- A Brief History of Hinduism
- A Short History of Buddhism
- How Mindfulness Relates to Yoga
- How Mindfulness Moved From East to West
- Mindfulness’ Role in (Positive) Psychology
- Mindfulness Practice and Philosophy
- A Take-Home Message
The History of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice involved in various religious and secular traditions—from Hinduism and Buddhism to yoga and, more recently, non-religious meditation. People have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years, whether on its own or as part of a larger tradition.
In general, mindfulness was popularized in the East by religious and spiritual institutions, while in the West its popularity can be traced to particular people and secular institutions. Of course, even the secular tradition of mindfulness in the West owes its roots to Eastern religions and traditions.
It is important to include that some commentators argue that the history of mindfulness should not be reduced to Buddhism and Hinduism, as mindfulness also has roots in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
(Trousselard et al., 2014).
That said, most modern Western practitioners and teachers of mindfulness learned about mindfulness in the Buddhist and Hindu tradition, so this article will focus on mindfulness from a Buddhist and Hindu perspective.
This should not be taken as a denial of mindfulness’ roots in the other religions, and interested readers are encouraged to seek out information about mindfulness as it pertains to these other religions. One possible starting point comes from Leisa Aitken, a clinical psychologist and practicing Christian—though this is just one of many options.
A Brief History of Hinduism
Hinduism is widely considered to be the oldest extant religion in the world, but it is hard to trace its history.
This is because it initially arose as a synthesis of many religious traditions around the historical region that now makes up India.
In other words, Hinduism has no single founder and no concrete starting point.
In fact, the religious tradition was not even called Hinduism or considered a singular entity until British writers started calling Vedic traditions “Hinduism” in the 1800s.
The earliest traditions, which have since been incorporated into Hinduism, arose more than 4,000 years ago in the Indus Valley— now Pakistan.
These religious traditions continued to develop in Vedic writings 2,500-3,500 years ago. These writings included rituals and the worship of the gods common to modern-day Hinduism.
About 1,500-2,500 years ago, additional texts were composed which are involved in present-day Hinduism, including texts introducing the concepts of dharma and temple worship.
A few hundred years ago, Hinduism experienced some competition in India with the rise of Islam, but 19th-century reformers revitalized Hinduism and helped tie it to the national identity of India.
This proved to be successful because middle-class Indians started identifying with Hinduism around the mid-19th century (Hatcher, 2007). This connection was then solidified about a hundred years later with the Indian independence movement.
Mindfulness has been intertwined with Hinduism for millennia. From the Bhagavad Gita’s discussions of yoga to Vedic meditation, the history of Hinduism reads in part like a history of mindfulness. Of course, it is only a partial history—another crucial player in the history of mindfulness is Buddhism and it should be noted that even Buddhism owes a great debt to Hinduism.
A Short History of Buddhism
Compared to Hinduism, Buddhism’s history is much more well-defined.
Buddhism was founded around 400-500 B.C.E. by Siddhartha Gautama, who became referred to as the Buddha.
Gautama is thought to have been born and raised around modern-day India and Nepal. Based on where and when Gautama was raised, it is thought that Hinduism informed his upbringing.
Buddhism and Hinduism share many commonalities—they both arose in the same region and are greatly concerned with the concept of dharma. A concept that is very difficult to define or translate, but includes a way of life that is in harmony with the natural order of the universe.
Despite the shared presence of dharma in both of these philosophies/religions, Buddhism is not a subsect of Hinduism because Buddhism does not concern itself with the sacred writings of the Veda (Hacker & Davis, Jr., 2006).
In general, Buddhism is a religion (blurred with philosophy, like many religions) that aims to show its followers the path to enlightenment. Since the Buddha’s lifetime, it has split into several different traditions—including Theravada Buddhism and Zen Buddhism.
Today, Buddhism is most often thought of by non-practitioners in the terms of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, an individual who is thought to be an enlightened teacher of Tibetan Buddhism.
Mindfulness may be even more involved in Buddhism than it is in Hinduism, as mindfulness (Sati) is considered to be the first step towards enlightenment. In fact, some sources even consider the English word “mindfulness” to be a simple translation of the Buddhist concept of Sati.
The fact that mindfulness is such a crucial aspect of Buddhism, combined with the fact that many Western influences in mindfulness studied under Buddhist teachers, shows that Western mindfulness is largely indebted to Buddhism.
How Mindfulness Relates to Yoga
There is a lot of overlap between mindfulness and yoga, both historically and presently. Many yoga practices incorporate mindfulness and some mindfulness meditation practices, such as the body scan, are very similar to yoga as they both involve awareness of one’s body.
One study examined this idea by measuring mindfulness in people who practice yoga (Gaiswinkler & Unterrainer, 2016).
The researchers found that people who practice yoga regularly had higher levels of mindfulness than people who were only slightly involved with yoga or who were not involved in yoga practice.
This indicates that yoga is positively correlated with levels of mindfulness and that some forms of yoga and some forms of mindfulness are striving for the same goals.
Interestingly enough, while the origins of yoga coincide with the origins of Hinduism, so does the recent rise of yoga’s popularity in the West coincide with the rise of mindfulness. This underscores the intertwined nature of Buddhism, Hinduism, mindfulness, and yoga.
But how exactly did all of these ideas, particularly mindfulness, gain so much popularity in the West?
How Mindfulness Moved From East to West
Perhaps the biggest influence on bringing mindfulness from the East to the West, at least recently, was Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Kabat-Zinn founded the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training.
This is where Kabat-Zinn developed his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, an eight-week program aimed at reducing stress.
Kabat-Zinn learned about and studied mindfulness under several Buddhist teachers, including Thich Nhat Hanh (an influential and popular figure in Western mindfulness himself). This gave him an Eastern foundation in mindfulness that he integrated with Western science to develop MBSR.
This integration with Western science was a crucial aspect in helping mindfulness gain widespread popularity in the West.
MBSR served as an inspiration for another mindfulness-based therapy program, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). This therapy is aimed at treating Major Depressive Disorder.
This and other integrations of science and mindfulness helped popularize mindfulness in the West, particularly for audiences accustomed to Western science and unfamiliar with Eastern practices.
One reason that it took a Westerner to adapt and popularize Eastern traditions for a Western audience is the different worldviews prevalent in each hemisphere. A discussion of some of these differences (such as individual versus institutional thinking, and cyclical versus linear thinking) can be found in a TED talk from Devdutt Pattanaik.
Aside from academic science, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, and Joseph Goldstein also played a crucial role in bringing mindfulness to the West when they founded the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in 1975.
The IMS helped introduce mindfulness meditation to the West, and the combination of mindfulness meditation and MBSR helped popularize mindfulness in the West within both clinical and non-clinical populations. Of course, the IMS is just one of many organizations that have helped popularize mindfulness meditation in the West, and in the United States in particular.
Mindfulness’ Role in (Positive) Psychology
Mindfulness plays an important role in both the greater field of psychology and positive psychology specifically.
MBSR and MBCT have become accepted tools for psychologists to treat a variety of patients.
Mindfulness meditation has become a useful tool in positive psychology for anyone looking to increase their levels of wellbeing and MBSR has also become popular in non-clinical populations.
Western science has evolved to the point where it can evaluate the effectiveness of practicing mindfulness— making mindfulness an attractive option for those who are skeptical of Eastern traditions.
As mindfulness can be practiced in many different ways for many different uses, it is a perfect tool for any practitioner’s toolbox.
In fact, a group of researchers recently attempted to directly integrate mindfulness with positive psychology in an intervention they called the Positive Mindfulness Program (Ivtzan et al., 2016).
The goal of this study was to combine mindfulness training and positive psychology interventions for the purpose of increasing the wellbeing of participants.
The researchers were successful in doing so—showing that positive psychology and mindfulness can be combined in a research setting.
Mindfulness Practice and Philosophy
So what is mindfulness, and what does the practice of mindfulness look like?
Mindfulness can come in lots of different forms—it could be a yoga practice that involves mindfulness, it might involve setting aside time for mindfulness meditation sessions, or it could involve practicing mindfulness during everyday activities (such as washing the dishes, as Thich Nhat Hanh advocates).
Mindfulness can be practiced individually or as part of a group during a retreat. In fact, mindfulness is so easy you can practice it anywhere!
Mindfulness can be practiced for the sole purpose of becoming more mindful and there are several mindfulness practices and organizations which are aimed at specific groups of people.
One example is the Mindful Warrior Project, which is just one of the groups aimed at helping military veterans use mindfulness to increase their wellbeing post-combat. There are also various groups focused on teaching mindfulness to children, such as the Kids Programme from Youth Mindfulness.
The point is that no matter who you are or what your daily life consists of, there is most likely a mindfulness practice tailored to you. This versatility makes it accessible to all who are willing to learn and put in a little bit of time.
This is a key part of the philosophy of mindfulness, whether it is practiced religiously or in a secular matter. After all, mindfulness practitioners are all striving for the same thing, whether they call it mindful awareness or enlightenment. Very few (if any) mindfulness traditions are based on restricting their teachings to an exclusive group.
A Take-Home Message
Mindfulness is a tradition that has a rich history steeped in religious and, more recently, secular institutions.
The fact that it has found so many devotees among both religious and secular communities shows the universality of its teachings.
Anyone looking to start practicing mindfulness can choose their preferred starting point, whether it be Hindu scripture which is thousands of years old or recent Westernized teachings.
This brief overview of many historical aspects of mindfulness is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it serves as a starting point for readers to learn more about mindfulness and how to practice it.
Knowing the history of mindfulness is not necessary to begin practicing it, but knowing the roots of mindfulness can help you pick the tradition and practice that will be most useful for your life and your needs.
After you have found one that works for you, come back and let us know in the comments below! You might just inspire someone to start a mindfulness practice in their own lives.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our 3 Mindfulness Exercises for free.
- Gaiswinkler, L., Unterrainer, H.F. (2016). The relationship between yoga involvement, mindfulness and psychological well-being. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26(1), 123-127.
- Hacker, P., Davis, Jr., D.R. (2006). Dharma in Hinduism. Journal of Indian Philosophy, 34(5), 479-496.
- Hatcher, B.A. (2007). Bourgeois Vedanta: The colonial roots of middle-class Hinduism. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 75(2), 298-323.
- Ivtzan, I. , Young, T., Martman, J., Jeffrey, A., Lomas, T., Hart, R., Eiroa-Orosa, F.J. (2016). Integrating Mindfulness into Positive Psychology: a Randomised Controlled Trial of an Online Positive Mindfulness Program. Mindfulness, 7(6), 1396-1407.
- Trousselard, M., Steiler, D., Claverie, D., Canini, F. (2014). The history of Mindfulness put to the test of current scientific data: Unresolved questions. Encephale-Revue de Psychiatrie Clinique Biologique et Therapeutique, 40(6), 474-480.
The History of Mindfulness | Psych Central
Mindfulness has evolved over the years, and it might be a good way to find stillness, calm, and stress relief.
There’s something so powerful about slowing down and paying attention.
Have you ever stopped for a moment to take in your surroundings? To take in the color of the sky, the way the air feels on your skin, or the surrounding sounds? If you have, you could say you were practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular as a coping mechanism for stress and anxiety and an accessible option for improving well-being. And as the conversation around mental health continues to evolve, so does the conversation around mindfulness.
But did you know that the history of mindfulness goes back hundreds of years?
People have been practicing mindfulness strategies for centuries.
The term originally comes from the Buddhist concept of “Sati,” which relates to the “moment to moment awareness of present events.” According to scholars, Buddhism itself was founded somewhere in the fifth century BCE by Siddhārtha Gautama (who most know as Buddha).
The modern translation of “Sati” to “mindfulness,” however, came in 1881 when Thomas William Rhys Davids, a British magistrate in Sri Lanka (previously known as Galle, Ceylon), identified “mindfulness” as the closest translation of the Buddhist concept of “Sati.”
While mindfulness was widely practiced in the East, it didn’t make its way over to the West until the 1970s.
Mindfulness first appeared in the United States because of Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor of medication emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center of Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
Kabat-Zinn first learned about the philosophical tenets of Buddhism while studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 1979, Kabat-Zinn opened the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There, he adapted Buddhist teachings and created a program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction,” or MBSR.
This program put MBSR into a scientific framework and diluted the connection between Buddhism and mindfulness.
But it still wasn’t until 1990 that his publication of “Full Catastrophe Living” brought global attention to his work. Since then, awareness and practice of mindfulness continued to grow.
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that meditation was the fastest growing health trend in the United States.
As the conversation around mental health continues to expand, mindfulness practices are becoming more well known as coping methods for stress and mental health conditions.
“Mindfulness involves paying attention to something in the moment, on purpose, and with open curiosity,” says Anne-Marie Emanuelli, the creative director of Mindful Frontiers, an education-based meditation center in northern New Mexico.
Merriam-Webster defines “mindfulness” as the quality or state of being mindful or the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.
“Awareness of breath, sounds, or bodily sensations is often referred to as the ‘awareness anchor,'” explains Emanuelli.
While you might associate mindfulness with meditation, it’s not the only way to practice mindfulness. You can dive into mindfulness in several ways, from mindful eating to mindful movement.
At its core, though, the purpose of mindfulness lies in being present to build self-awareness over your state of being, which, in turn, can positively impact your overall well-being.
Evidence suggests that mindfulness-based practices may help curb stress, improve sleep, and even lower blood pressure in some people.
Findings from one 2018 research review suggested that mindfulness meditation may help improve sleep quality for some people with sleep issues. And one small 2019 study involving 48 participants found that practicing mindfulness may help decrease blood pressure.
Practicing mindfulness can even decrease anxiety and depression in times of crisis.
Mindfulness isn’t just for one group of people. It’s for everybody. “I believe that mindfulness is something anyone can practice, from the very young to the elderly,” says Emanuelli.
There are several ways to practice mindfulness, from how you listen to how you eat to how you fall asleep. You can incorporate each method into your particular daily routine in a way that works best for you.
Somewhere out there, there might be an ideal mindfulness practice for you — or maybe even two.
Here are a few mindfulness exercises to consider:
- Meditation. Meditation is often synonymous with mindfulness, and mindful meditations can help you center yourself and regain control of your headspace. Additionally, many styles of mindful meditation exist for you to explore.
- Breathing. Breath work or mindful breathing can be a helpful and simple way to ease your mind. It involves slowing down and paying attention to your breath.
- Yoga. Yoga is one of the most common mindfulness practices. You may find it helps you become more aware of your body and move more mindfully.
- Journaling. Journaling can help you become more mindful of your thoughts and feelings. Journal prompts like, “how’s my heart today?” can help you uncover your sense of self.
Mindfulness is a supportive tool that might be worth adding to your well-being tool kit. “Mindfulness is a powerful tool to improve attention, focus, mental health, and relationships,” explains Emanuelli.
Mindfulness can involve a structured routine or simply taking brief moments to pay attention. There’s no need to set aside hours of time to practice mindfulness. Just a few minutes a day can make a difference.
Where mindfulness goes from here will depend on how many people embrace this kind of practice.
We may see more schools and workplaces introducing mindfulness to students and workers. And as folks continue to work toward destigmatizing mental health conditions, we may see a greater push toward practices like mindfulness that help us look within and manage stress in healthy ways.
Regardless of how mindfulness evolves, consider this an opportunity to see if it’s a tool that might help you with whatever you’re working through.
How to Practice Mindfulness - Develop the Necessary Skills
Mindfulness is a hot word. Coaches, educators, speakers, professors or social media influencers, you name it, and chances are at least one of these wellness industry representatives has touched on the topic of mindfulness in the past.
But what is mindfulness? And where can one find awareness outside of ordinary meditation or yoga? Is it possible to apply and practice mindfulness on a daily basis while living a modern, busy lifestyle in the 21st century? nine0003
In this blog post, we get to the heart of mindfulness. Read below to learn how to practice mindfulness and how you can start developing mindfulness skills today.
FIRST, WHAT IS ATTENTION?
Simply put, mindfulness is focused attention to the present moment without judgment. In other words, it means being aware of what you are doing while you are doing it and not letting your mind wander into the past or worry about the future. nine0003
Easier said than done, practicing mindfulness in everyday life is a challenge, especially for beginners. While setting short-term, hasty goals is not recommended when you begin your path to mindfulness. Eventually, you will want to include mindfulness in every aspect of your life by developing the habit of mindfulness.
This could be mindful movement, mindful eating, driving, reading, listening to music, practicing mindfulness regularly, or even washing dishes. nine0003
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AWARENESS AND SELF-AWARENESS?
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being aware of something. It is a mental state that can be trained through various mindfulness practices.
On the other hand, self-awareness is a clear perception of one's personality, including strengths and weaknesses, emotions, beliefs, motives and ways of interacting with other people and the outside world in general.
Although it is necessary to distinguish between the essential factors in these two cases, both mindfulness practice and self-awareness training involve working with negative emotions, deep breathing, mindful movement, and meditation practice. nine0003
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CARE?
Mindfulness has been proven to provide many benefits, some of which are:
- Improved physical and mental health
- Increased concentration and concentration
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- Increased emotional stability and well-being
- Calms the nervous system
- Reducing negative thinking and negative emotions
- Prevention of age-related cognitive disorders
- Increasing the sense of the present moment
- Developed creative thinking
- Reduced emotional exhaustion
- Improvement in physical pain and chronic pain
- Fewer anxiety symptoms
The practice of mindfulness has also shown positive results in building and strengthening relationships and general patterns of communication. In their personal or professional lives, those who practice mindfulness become better listeners, argue less, and build emotionally regulated relationships. nine0003
HOW IS THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION RELATED TO AWARENESS?
Mindfulness and the practice of meditation go hand in hand. Meditation is a tool that can be used to practice mindfulness, and mindfulness is the goal of many meditation practices. By becoming more mindful during meditation, we can bring that mindfulness into our daily lives and learn to live more in the present moment.
While it is possible to practice mindfulness without meditation, it is often through various mindfulness meditation practices that people learn how to become more mindful in everyday life. nine0003
So if you want to bring more awareness into your life, start with meditation.
EASY WAYS TO PRACTICE Mindfulness Meditation
One way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on one thing, such as your breath or a mantra. The truth is that meditation is the most effective way to reduce stress based on mindfulness. With regular meditation, a person's life changes for the better. nine0003
The purpose of meditation is to bring your attention back to the present moment when your thoughts are wandering. You can practice mindfulness meditation anywhere and anytime. A variety of meditation techniques can be used to practice mindfulness, from walking to guided meditation.
Here is a very simple meditation practice that can be done for five minutes.
- Find a quiet place free of distractions. It is ideal to start at home, as this is where you usually feel most comfortable and relaxed. nine0040
- Pay attention to your breathing. Sit with a straight spine and close your eyes. Inhale deeply and exhale through your nose. As you breathe, pay attention to how the breath enters and exits the body. Allow thoughts to come and go without judging them as your mind wanders and it will. Just notice where he went and then bring him back to awareness. Keep breathing deeply.
- Scan your body. Be aware of your bodily sensations and any areas that need attention. Release any tension you may be holding. nine0040
- Allow thoughts to come and go while continuing to focus on the breath.
Start with five minutes and work your way up to longer periods. If you're having trouble focusing or keeping your attention on your breath, there are a few things you can do:
- Set a timer so you don't constantly check your clock.
- Focus on the exhalation and count the inhalations and exhalations.
- Find a focus point if you prefer to keep your eyes open. nine0040
HOW TO PRACTICE Mindfulness Outside of Meditation
Who said mindfulness has to be boring? If you're looking for some fun and exciting exercises to try without meditating, here are a few to get you started.
First, try learning to listen. The next time you talk, really tune in to what the other person is saying. Listen with your whole body and don't let your thoughts wander. It can be tricky to keep your attention, but it's a great way to practice mindfulness. nine0003
Another exciting exercise is mindfulness walking. Instead of letting your mind wander as you walk, pay attention to how your feet hit the ground and how the air touches your skin. You may also want to try "observation", where you look at your surroundings for a few minutes and notice all the little details.
These are just a few of the many exercises you can try. If you need support, take advantage of thought apps like Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer, and more. nine0003
WHAT OTHER WAYS ARE YOU TO PRACTICE MINDNESS?
The practice of mindfulness is not limited to this. The most beautiful and exciting part of introducing mindfulness practice into your daily routine is that it can affect almost every area of your daily life.
Here are some additional ways to train mindfulness that have a less meditative approach.
Breathwork is a mindfulness technique that involves paying attention to the breath for a few minutes to help calm and center the mind. There are many different ways to do breathing exercises, such as box breathing, pranayama, holotropic breathing, and others.
Most people know that yoga is a great way to train the body, but it is also a great mindfulness practice. The mindfulness component of yoga comes from focusing on the breath and the present moment during each pose. Some yoga poses, such as forward bends or child's pose, are designed specifically to unlock the potential of mindfulness skills. nine0003
Centering exercises are designed to help you find inner peace and focus. There are many different types of centering exercises, but they all share the same goal of helping you connect with your inner self.
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a type of therapy that combines cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practice. MBCT is effective in treating depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. nine0003
One of the most powerful mindfulness exercises that also improves your sense of self-awareness, journaling is a mindfulness practice that anyone can do. The goal of mindfulness journaling is to focus on the present moment and write about your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Journaling can also be used to reflect on your meditation experience as you record any physical sensations, thoughts,
These are just some of the ways you can start practicing mindfulness in your daily life. It's important to find what's right for you and be patient with yourself as you learn to practice mindfulness throughout the day and allow these positive interventions to change your life for the better. nine0003
Meditation for chakras
Meditation of body scan
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How Meditation9000 Meditative Meditative Meditut
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Meditation for Beginners
Ten Yoga Postures for Mindfulness | Times of India
10 Easy Ways to Practice Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
Less Stress, Clearer Thoughts Through Meditation - Harvard Gazette
How to Practice Mindfulness: 11 Practical Steps and Tips
Mindfulness for Kids: A Parent's Guide
If You trying to become a more active parent, more involved in the development and well-being of your child, then you should definitely read this! nine0003
If your child is struggling with stress, anxiety, chronic anxiety, or related symptoms, practicing mindfulness, especially mindfulness activities, can help.
When teaching mindfulness, adults and children require different approaches. But before moving on to practical mindfulness tools and exercises for young children and teens, let's define what mindfulness is and what it means for young children.
What is mindfulness for children? nine0011
Defining mindfulness in one sentence can be tricky. There are simply too many definitions. For children, however, it is best to keep the explanation as simple as possible.
If you want to explain to your child what mindfulness is, we suggest you use a definition like this:
Mindfulness means slowing down thinking
When you are mindful, you put all your attention and focus on what is happening right now , at this particular moment. nine0003
You don't think about what you had for breakfast this morning, or about the funny things you said to your friends earlier in the day. You don't think about the homework you have to do tonight or how much you look forward to the weekend.
When you pay attention to yourself, you do nothing but focus on the present moment. You can use many different techniques for this. For example, you can focus on the sensations in your body as you breathe into your belly, notice every thought that comes into your mind, or say a mantra (your favorite phrase) to yourself. nine0003
Why do children need mindfulness?
Approximately 4.4 million American children aged 3-17 have been diagnosed with anxiety.
If you're curious about the benefits of meditation for children, here are just a few. Meditation for children can:
1. Help them avoid distractions
Children are often easily distracted. Mindfulness improves concentration. This allows them to complete tasks more efficiently and with greater overall ease. Whether it's attention in school, listening carefully in class, or even addressing ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - mindfulness is a powerful tool to help a child stay present and reduce mind wandering. nine0003
2. Foster joy
Mindfulness work allows children to open their hearts and minds, which naturally promotes greater joy and happiness. Raising children with a sense of joy is essential for the healthy development of the nervous system and, through mindfulness work, can be achieved and maintained from early childhood.
3. Teach them how to deal with stress
Children often enter adolescence and young adulthood without the tools they need to deal with stress. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, shapes and sizes - lack of concentration, difficulty with emotional regulation, depression, lack of joy and curiosity. nine0003
Mindfulness is a great practice for coping with stress because it slows down the mind and body at the same time. By focusing only on the present moment, you will not be able to indulge in reflection. In addition, if you can control and calm your thoughts, you can also slow down your heart rate and reduce heavy, rapid breathing and other physical symptoms of stress.
Reducing stress in everyday life should be high on the list of priorities that parents and caregivers should teach children. The reality of today is that children are constantly exposed to stressors and do not have the tools to cope with stress. Mindfulness training is an effective way to help children cope with stress. nine0003
4. Promote peace and tranquility at home and in family life
Finally, teaching mindfulness to your children can help you, as a parent, maintain peace and tranquility in your home. Children who understand and practice mindfulness regularly tend to be calmer. They cope better with stress and difficult situations. It can help release the pressure valve in an already stressed family, calm bedtime or nap fights, reduce problems at the dinner table, and limit other annoyances that often come with parenting. nine0003
Tips for teaching mindfulness to children
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Working with your children can be a great way to connect positively and help them achieve a more peaceful state of mind.
Here are some tips to help your children learn mindfulness:
Promote mindfulness as a tool for dealing with difficult feelings and emotions.
As adults, we know how difficult it is to control our emotions and feelings. But we also know that we are much better at it now than when we were children. When you are young, strong emotions such as fear, anxiety, and anger can wash over you like an irresistible tsunami, and it may seem like there is no way out.
Teaching a child mindfulness can help him understand that difficult feelings and emotions should not be the main thing. With the help of mindful breathing and the practice of focusing on one thing, your child will learn to control his thoughts and allow worry and anxiety to evaporate. nine0003
Turn on physical activity.
Particularly active children will benefit from incorporating physical activity into meditation. After all, even adults can find it difficult to sit in meditation. While practicing mindfulness during your active life, take a walk, play a silent game of ping pong, or try mindful yoga together.
Use mindfulness techniques to explore nature.
Nature is the perfect place to practice mindfulness. For example, you can go hiking, gardening, or just sit in a beautiful place and meditate a little. nine0003
Show them that you are also practicing mindfulness.
Practicing what you preach when it comes to mindfulness is crucial.
Try our quick and easy Unwind Your Mind session to start learning mindfulness. You will chat live with a professional meditation instructor who will help you relax, rejuvenate and master the basics of mindfulness in just 25 minutes.
Meditation for children
Children's meditation is another way for children to practice mindfulness. In order for your child to feel more aware, it is important to introduce him to elements that he is comfortable with and perhaps things that you could practice together. Mindfulness meditation for children, practiced with you as a parent, will engage your child and help them feel more relaxed about the whole process.
Mindfulness for children is essential for their well-being, and the sooner you start, the better they will feel. Smart kids are happy kids, and happy kids are happy parents. Several articles on mindfulness promote meditation for children. nine0003
If you are looking for mindfulness meditation for children, please contact one of our wellness consultants to discuss your needs and goals.
Mindfulness for Children Frequently Asked Questions
Is mindfulness meditation good for children?
Yes! Mindfulness is an ideal activity for children of any age, regardless of their nature and interests. Teaching children mindfulness can help them throughout their lives. It will teach them how to cope with stress, focus on one task and enjoy the present moment without thinking about the past or the future. nine0003
What activities help develop mindfulness?
You can do any activity with mindfulness. For example, you can sweep the floor, weed the garden, or clean the bedroom. All you need to do to be mindful while doing another task is to focus on what you are doing and try not to let your thoughts wander into the future or the past. A great way to do this is to record every move you make and every thought that comes into your mind. Describe to yourself what you are doing in great detail. When you are doing nothing or not moving at all, just focus on your breathing. nine0003
What are mindfulness skills?
Like math, reading or playing the guitar, mindfulness training is a skill. Through repetition, you can learn to practice mindfulness (and get better at it). Practicing every day is the best way to acquire the habit of mindfulness.
RESOURCES FOR MINDFULNESS IN ANAHAN
WIKI ON MINDNESS
How to Relax Your Mind
Blogs about attentiveness
Awareness in the class
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Children should start practicing mindfulness at an early age
If you have used mindfulness to improve your life, you already know the amazing benefits of this practice. Teaching your children this practice at an early age will help them learn mindfulness and use it throughout their lives.
Where to start? Try our Unwind Your Mind streaming service. Through one-to-one coaching, your child will learn to use breathing and mindfulness to slow down frantic thoughts and anxiety.
Mindfulness is a tool that anyone can use, but the Unwind Your Mind service is unique to Anahana. Try it with your child today and start seeing positive results now.