What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves training our attention to experience the present moment with greater curiosity and kindness. This helps us to not only appreciate what is going well, but to respond more skillfully to life’s inevitable challenges.
Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed, easy way.
Mindfulness happens naturally sometimes. Let’s say you’re getting ready to take a shot in netball. You carefully position your feet. You look up at the net and feel the ball in your hands. Taking your time, you raise your arms. You tune out all the other sounds and take your shot. Swoosh — yes! Nicely done.
That calm focus, that way of paying attention to what you’re doing, taking your time, taking it easy — that’s you being mindful! And being mindful just helped you take your best shot.
How does mindfulness benefit children?
Although most of the studies into mindfulness are based on adults, early research suggests that children may benefit in similar ways.
- Feel calmer and more fulfilled
- Get on better with others
- Concentrate better
- Manage their stress and anxiety
- Manage performance more effectively in areas such as sport, music and drama.
Research suggests that mindfulness also has a positive impact on academic skills and performance, as well as general wellbeing.
Should you be interested in reading further about the body of research evidence around mindfulness, you may like to read the following document by Professor Katherine Weare:
Further research studies regarding the benefits of mindfulness for young people can be found on the Mindfulness in Schools Project Website:
The government’s Mindful Nation UK report has been released and contains a section on the role of mindfulness in education.