Mindfulness – just another buzzword or something of true value?
To understand the value of mindfulness, we first need to look at what mindfulness is. When asked, the most common response is ‘to be calm’, or ‘to breathe’.
Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment. Have you ever driven somewhere only to realise that you don’t recall your journey? Have you ever gone to your empty coffee mug, having forgotten you’ve already finished it? Have you ever prayed namaaz, not realizing which rakaat you are on? This is whereas humans, we lack the ability to stay present at all times. Mindfulness calms the busy mind whilst also developing an awareness of our bodies, feelings and thoughts.
In an overstimulated and fast-paced life, mindfulness provides a reset button. It tames the wild and random nature of our thoughts to become less hectic, and consequently less tiring. Not only this, mindfulness also enables children and adults alike to develop their self-awareness in order to recognise the nature and magnitude of their emotions.
Why has it become so prevalent? Scientific research has demonstrated the positive physiological impact of mindfulness on the body, along with the mental benefits being recognised by lifestyle coaches and medical practitioners.
Having benefitted first hand from mindfulness techniques for adults, it was evident that similar concepts would have great benefit to younger minds. Several questions validated this vision; what if we were taught mindfulness as children? What if we were armed with coping mechanisms taught through mindfulness? The challenge was set – to transition attitudes towards mindfulness to be a preventative measure rather than an intervention.
Stanmore Jafferys hosted a girls-only mindfulness session led by Mrs. Nasser, the co-founder of Young Mindfulness, on Friday 26th July 2019. The Young Mindfulness programme was started through the unique experiences of being a qualified primary school teacher with a Psychology degree, along with early years experience and a passion for mindfulness.
The ‘shells’ themed session sparked an interest with the children. They began with some fun breathing exercises, followed by a discussion on the importance of self-affirmations in breaking a chain of negative thinking. They played mindful games and created their own affirmation shells. The girls finished off with a guided meditation, visualising the calmness and warmth of the ocean.
As with any skill or talent, you improve through practice; Young Mindfulness runs weekly sessions for children at Harrow Arts Centre, aiming to provide a space whereby children can tune into their inner peace and contentment through mindfulness.
The following testimonials from the children who attended this mindfulness session highlight the benefits of such practices for young children:
“I enjoyed the activities as they showed me how to be mindful during a rough time. I have tried this and it has been very helpful.” – Aliyah Muraj, 10 year old
“I thought the mindfulness class was very relaxing and peaceful and I really liked the craft we did. My favourite bit was when we had to lie down with eye masks on. We also did breathing with a breathing ball which was fun. To practice our breathing we put our hands on our tummies and felt the breath going in and out. Mrs Nasser was very kind.”
“I had a great time at the ocean-themed mindfulness session last week. We started the session playing toga which is an exercise picking up pom-poms with our toes. It helps with concentration and focus. We made an oyster shell that had a pearl in the middle. On the outside of the shell we wrote sayings which we should remember to say when we are worried. My sayings were I am calm, I am strong, I am brave, I am nice & I am happy. We also juggled with different coloured scarves which helped us with concentration as well. Lastly, we did some breathing and relaxation following the sounds of the ocean.”
“I enjoyed playing some games particularly the one with wool, which we had to pick up between our toes. I also enjoyed the breathing activities. We learned some things to do when your feeling angry too like move a bead on the bracelet that we made and say things like ‘I am happy, I am excited I am kind, I am helpful, I am brave’.”
For more information about Young Mindfulness or to book onto a session, visit www.youngmindfulness.co.uk or contact: +44(0)7427206629.