In a 24/7 world of stress and anxiety, not to mention gang culture and knife crime, how do we create a peaceful place for our children to grow up in?
There is one very simple and effective solution, meditation.
If every eight-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation, says the Dalai Lama.
Better yet, it is completely free of charge and can be done anywhere regardless of the size of your home or what privileges you are born with.
Currently, we try to solve conflict with violence, ghosting, or negotiation if we’re lucky, yet meditation embraces a preventative approach to avoid conflict altogether.
The key is in starting young, so that it becomes normalised and a part of our culture rather than an extracurricular activity only available to the wellbeing community.
It might sound overly simply, though meditation is more about taking a break from the Xbox, it significantly reduces anxiety, stress, and depression too.
Essentially, it allows us to say ‘stop, wait a second’ to difficult emotions and ruminating thoughts so that we create calm amongst the chaos.
If you’re wondering where to begin, then the good folk over at alternative news magazine Nexus have your back as they’ve devised four ways to get you started.
Check out the list below.
1 Listen: Bell Meditation
Invite kids to sit cross-legged with their eyes closed. Ring a bell or singing bowl and ask your child/children to use their sense of hearing to explore the sound. Ask them to listen carefully, and as soon as they hear it stop, raise their hand.
They can then practice attentive listening without a bell, listening to sounds in their space. Which are closest? Which are farthest away? Which are to the left, or right? They can also try this while walking down the street or in bed before falling asleep.
2 Sing: Relaxation Song
Combine sound with touch by choosing a song or an affirmation like ‘I Am Strong’. With each syllable, touch a different finger to your thumb, starting with the index finger then moving towards the pinkie.
This is a self-soothing exercise and can be done discretely anywhere kids want to calm down, from the train to the classroom desk to the dinner table.
3 Breathe: Take Five Breath
Learning to check in with your breath from an early age is a powerful tool. Invite kids to inhale for five then exhale for five. Slowing the breath will slow down the mind and help reduce feelings of being flustered and frazzled.
As it is done, encourage children to notice if they can feel their heart rise and fall, or the breath enter and leave their nose, to be aware of the mind-body connection.
4 Watch: Cloud Gazing
Sitting quietly, ask children to imagine their mind is the sky and when thoughts or feelings come, think of them like clouds. They can watch the clouds of their mind come and go, just as they can watch them in the sky move.
Kids may not sit too long, but just introducing this concept is a great way to show that life is always changing and many things do pass us by even if it may not look like they will in the moment.