What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness, put simply, is learning how to be more aware of what we’re feeling and thinking in the moment. In a world that moves faster and faster every year, helping your children learn how to calm themselves and examine their emotions can be a hugely useful gift.
This course teaches them mindfulness techniques that they can use to root themselves in the present, as well as give them more control over how that future might play out.
How does this mindfulness course help?
Mindfulness is a way of rooting yourself in the present, and giving you more control over how that future might play out. Most young children are naturally really good at mindfulness until the age of around 7 years old. They are ‘in time’, existing very much in the experience they’re having at that moment.
As children get older they start to experience time differently. Like adults they begin to live ‘through time’, which means that they increasingly dwell on what has already happened, or what’s yet to happen. In turn this can lead to worries and unhappiness, something we’re all familiar with as adults.
Anxiety, for example, can be caused by thinking too much about the future, while depression often comes from thinking too much about the past. Learning mindfulness helps children stay more in the present – and feel grateful for what they have – rather than let their mind wander and feel sorry for what they’ve lost, or what is to come.
Mindfulness can help us become more emotionally intelligent too, as we’re more likely to focus on how we’re feeling in the moment. Often we only reflect on our behaviour after the event (if at all), whereas mindfulness helps us think about it at the time.
It can also be a natural way to develop gratitude by focusing on the positives. A lot of us generate unhappiness by focusing on what we haven’t got, or where we think we suffer by comparison with our peers. Teenagers can be particularly gifted at this!
Equally, sometimes highly-motivated children don’t feel the satisfaction of their accomplishments, because they’re already focusing on the next task on the list. Mindfulness can hand them the chance to feel thankful and proud of what they’ve accomplished, before they begin to think of what’s next.
What can you expect from the course?
We can run this course for individuals or in groups. This is a 1-day course, and because we adapt the core content to suit the audience, it’s suitable for younger children aged 9 and 10 years upwards. We’d recommend children attend with their parents, not least because you can then discuss what you’ve learned with them (children aged 15 and older are welcome to attend on their own). If we think it’s going to be helpful and appropriate, we may recommend follow-up counselling sessions.
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“Our brains are not designed for happiness: they’ve evolved to keep us alert and alive instead. That’s partly why we focus on the negatives. When you’re able to focus on the absence of something, you’re going to feel worse. But if you can focus on what you have – and its value – instead you tend to be more content. Mindfulness can really help with this.”
Richard Reid – CEO, Therapist & Coaching Psychologist