Mindfulness refers to the ability to stop and focus on one’s feelings. There are many points in common with Buddhist practices and emotional education. Meditation is one of the most used practices to achieve this state of awareness. Mindfulness means conscious attention, it is, therefore, a way of being, a way of intentionally paying attention to the present moment without judging.
Mindfulness and rational education
The Buddhist teachings that are the basis of mindfulness have some points in common with rational education such as the link between harmful thoughts and destructive emotions. According to emotional rational education, there are unconscious thoughts called absolute claims that are completely illogical and capable of causing suffering or depression.
These dysfunctional emotions must be overcome by turning them into preferences, that is, something attractive, but not essential. The way to overcome these problems is the questioning of these feelings, the fundamental preliminary step is the acquisition of awareness of one’s own irrational beliefs. Mindfulness accompanies this emotional awareness also the awareness of one’s own body.
Mindfulness and meditation
Practicing meditation is the way to mindfulness. This is not a passive practice, but it takes time and energy. Kabat-Zinn advises beginning observing one’s own breath which becomes the hinge from which to observe the sensations and changes around the body. The aim is to train the mind to be more stable and less likely to be distracted by the slightest changes, enriching and strengthening one’s concentration. There are several types of meditation.
- Sitting meditation
- Body exploration – is a method that consists in the systematic rotation of attention on the various parts of the body, focusing on each.
- Walking meditation – technique suitable for those who cannot stay still, so while walking you try to concentrate between internal observation.
- Mindful Yoga – a technique that unites mind and body through specific exercises.
Mindfulness for children
Mindfulness reduces stress, increases attention and concentration allowing you to get in touch with the deep emotional experience and the self. Even for the little ones, it is important to ensure serenity, efficiency, and awareness.
Mindfulness is a technique that allows you to achieve full self-awareness by bringing attention to the present moment, in a non-judgmental and intentional way. It is commonly included in the meditation techniques that allow you to live the here and now with awareness and fullness, without being overwhelmed by daily commitments and by the countless stimuli of reality.
Meditation is hardly considered suitable and possible with children, however, countless researches show the effectiveness of mindfulness even with the little ones.
From an early age, people are bombarded with information, stimuli, and requests that subject them to high levels of activation and stress. This reduces the ability to live and pay attention to the present moment and personal experience. Everything escapes quickly, there is no time to enjoy the moment. You have to undergo the strict and precise program of mom and dad, the speed of the lesson at school, the rush to get to training, homework, and much more.
Mindfulness allows children to focus on self, on their emotional experience, on their thoughts, and to live everyday life in a profound and conscious way. It guarantees the detachment from the frenzy and the rediscovery of simplicity, creativity and the essence of things typical of children and they’re due carefree. The benefits are many and affect different emotional, cognitive, and relational areas.