Mindfulness and the holidays
The summer holidays can be a long time to spend with your kids.
You love them but your whole routine can change and even though holidays are meant to be enjoyable, they can be a little bit stressful too!
So here are some tips and ideas to help you keep up your meditation practice and help your kids practise mindfulness during the summer break.
(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Furtney Miller – “Here is my 5 year old son meditating in the pool. Trying to compose himself during a conflict with his 7 year old sister. We love this photo. He often joins us at 6am to meditate too. Namaste.”) Continue reading
One of my friends is an experienced mindfulness teacher.
She sent me her weekly newsletter and within that there is mention of Dr Rick Hanson – the psychologist – with a link to one of his excellent presentations.
It was so good I thought I would include it in my regular blog (see below).
But it got me thinking.
Dr Hanson talks about the importance of him learning meditation skills, especially to help him recover from the difficult times he had growing up – you know the regular growing pains most of us go through and the feeling of not fitting in or being quite good enough.
He talks about how mindfulness has helped fill the ‘hole in his heart’ that these experiences created. Continue reading
Negativity Bias and Mindfulness
I was giving a talk recently (I do a few of these online talks
to help inform, educate and give you the confidence to start teaching kids/teens meditation) and I came across a term ‘negativity bias
It means that our brain and body constantly scan the environment for threats. If we detect a threat, we manage it as it activates our stress response (fight/flight/freeze) – which is designed to keep us alive.
What it means is that we are hardwired (neurologically speaking) to seek out the negative in our life experiences more easily than the positive ones.
As Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist and author of “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom” argues that our brains are like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones.
I found this fascinating.
I love mandalas.
They are one of the most effective ways to teach children mindfulness skills while they meditate.
The idea behind mandalas in Buddhist practices is to create the mandala out of coloured sand while paying attention to thoughts, body, breath and emotions. Then when complete, the mandalas are released to symbolise impermanence and non-attachment.
However we can use paper mandalas just as effectively with young people.
If you find it difficult to get your kids to sit still and meditate in the way you think they should, then you need to change the way you think about meditation. Mandalas can help you do this.
One of my students Ali Gray, is very passionate about the world learning meditation.
He is one of our Connected Kids students and together with his colleague, Gary Young, is pioneering a project to make it part of the school curriculum in Scotland.
At a ‘business and mindfulness’ conference, he heard the term ‘mindfulness cowboys‘ and wondered what this was about.
He asked me. I sighed.
You see, the term (and subsequent conversation at the conference) suggested that mindfulness was the only type of meditation available.
This is simply not true.