Meditation and mindfulness
In today’s fast paced society it’s even more important to take time out to relax. Never before have we been bombarded with so much information 24 hours a day. Children in the modern world rarely grow up in nature, playing barefoot, getting bored and making up imaginary games. That’s where meditation and mindfulness can benefit.
It’s easy to lose touch
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says, “It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.”
“Awareness of this kind also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better.”
Researchers from the Universities of Udine and Rome found that meditation training improved children’s attention and reduced internalising problems, such as fearfulness, withdrawal from social groups, anxiety and depression, improving their psychological well-being.
Mindfulness meditation can involve sitting silently and paying attention to thoughts, sounds, the sensations of breathing or parts of the body. It can also be more active, such as walking meditation, or being absorbed in a creative hobby.
There are also proven benefits to learning, as was reported in the Daily Mail. It said scientists found that even a short course of meditation “strengthens connections between the regions of the brain that regulate our emotional responses”.
Neuroscience findings suggest that the brain can be changed structurally and functionally through regular practice of meditation — resulting in improved emotional and mental states.
So doing nothing, and observing yourself doing it, allows you to let go of the external distractions, and come back to a place of internal stillness and flow, thereby creating more space and peace.
Leah Dixon has been meditating for 25 years and working with SEN students for the last 20 years. She teaches yoga, meditation and mindfulness to children, young people and adults. Having felt the stress relieving benefits herself she has always been keen to share her knowledge with others.