Mindfulness to help children and young adults

I believe that young years should be care free and full of fun and yet sadly, for many young people, life seems to be very difficult to cope with. It is heart breaking to see that problems such as anxiety, low self-esteem, anger and depression are quite common amongst children. Children can feel disconnected and lonely and these negative feelings can escalate, becoming very serious if neglected for too long.

Talking therapies and antidepressants are sometimes used to help children and it is good to see that most schools have a counsellor that the children can go to if they need to talk about things that are troubling them. However, unfortunately sometimes things have become quite extreme before there is any intervention; perhaps the child didn’t feel brave enough to speak to anyone until they could no longer bear how they felt. Maybe they felt ashamed or embarrassed, or maybe they simply didn’t know how to express themselves, didn’t quite understand what they were feeling.

At times of pressure such as exams, moving schools or big sports events, a child may feel completely overwhelmed and unable to deal with things. Although a certain amount of stress is usual, and in fact necessary, when it is too high it can be very damaging to the health of both the body and the mind. Many physical illnesses are a result of mental stress.

Practising mindfulness and meditation is a completely natural way to help deal with all sorts of negative feelings and it is something that is growing in popularity at long last here in the west. Many schools are now using these mindfulness techniques to help the children and the results can be astonishing. One of the teachers of a class that I taught a couple of years ago asked if she could come to sit in to see what we were doing as she was so surprised and impressed at how the children were responding. She said they were kinder to each other, more focused in lessons and generally more peaceful.

There are so many issues that can be helped and even completely eliminated using mindfulness; issues ranging from minor problems such as irritability and an inability to relax, to more serious issues such as anxiety and anger. Simple exercises and techniques, some as short as a minute, can really help to alleviate stress and tension before they build. From short exercises to longer meditations, there is something to help each problem that arises. The great thing is that these can become second nature and give a child some invaluable methods to make life much easier as problems arise.

As I say to children, we can’t avoid things happening and life is full of ups and downs. What we can do though is equip ourselves so that we can deal with those ups and downs much more effectively. Living mindfully helps us to stay on the right path for a happy life.

Interested in learning how to use mindfulness to help children? I am running a teacher training course on Sat 9th September 2017, Natural Retreats, Newquay, Cornwall. Price reduced from £299 to £99. To book a space please send me an email cliftonclicker@aol.com, message facebook vivienneclifton or telephone 07724533137