Celebrities, yogis, school-age children, oh my! A new trend, practicing mindfulness, is sweeping the nation and will soon be sweeping kids off their feet – literally. Photos featuring elementary school children meditating on their desks have underlined the rising tendency for schools to encourage students to practice mindfulness through meditation. “Studies show that grade-school-aged children who learn mindfulness and meditation are more focused and resilient,” says Sarah McKay, an Oxford University-trained neuroscientist and freelance science writer specializing in mind and brain.“It helps settle them down and improves concentration, particularly if done before school or after lunch breaks.” Those who are practicing mindfulness should acknowledge their feelings and experiences and accept them without any judgement while quieting their mind and raising their overall awareness. And who is responsible for the movement? Goldie Hawn’s Hawn Foundation started MindUP schools roughly 12 years ago which focus on teaching children to use their emotions and reduce their stress through activities called “brain breaks.” Since 2011, 13,500 teachers and 405,000 students have taken part in the program.
Contributor: Phoebe Roe