In recent years, mindfulness has become a way to help children manage their stress and enhance their overall well-being. Importantly, a substantial amount of research backs its effectiveness. Science shows us that it changes our brain and biology in positive ways, improving health and well-being.
What is mindfulness?
Being mindful involves focusing on your senses, breath, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations in your body. Acceptance is also fundamental to being mindful. It involves observing your feelings and sensations without judgment – not labeling them as “good” or “bad” just observing. In lieu of reacting to those thoughts or feelings, you notice them and let them go.
In our aerial yoga classes and occupational therapy sessions for kids we provide the tools to put mindfulness techniques into practice. Our programs include breathing exercises, aerial yoga and guided lessons to help your child become aware of body sensations, thoughts and feelings.
Studies have focused on two types of interventions:
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a therapeutic technique that typically involves weekly classes and daily mindfulness exercises to practice at home. It helps children increase mindfulness through practices such as yoga and meditation.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a therapy technique that combines elements of mindfulness with cognitive behavioral therapy to treat children with depression and anxiety.
What Does Research Tell Us?
Researchers looked at 209 studies and determined mindfulness-based therapy was especially effective for decreasing stress, anxiety and depression. The most promising research has investigated mindfulness as a treatment for individuals with depression. Multiple studies have shown, that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can significantly decrease episodes of major depression. Additionally, it can improve physical health as well by boosting the immune system and helping children recover quicker from illness.
How to Get Started
Ready to give it a try? We have made learning mindfulness easier than ever. Our aerial yoga classes and occupational therapy for kids are available on a weekly basis. Though the classes may vary in difficulty they all are evidence-based and provide mindfulness techniques. Our occupational therapists are trained in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy interventions and include them in all of our occupational therapy sessions with kids.
It can take as little as 8-weeks of consistent practice for positive changes to occur in the brain and body. By adding a practice for 10 minutes a day you have a powerful tool for reducing stress and enhancing well-being.