Meditation and mindfulness practices have been in existence for thousands of years. But only recently have people truly begun to appreciate the benefits of meditation. Science is beginning to show how meditation can help individuals deal with stress and other problems. But these meditation benefits appear to represent just a few of the health advantages that mindfulness practices offer.
Increasingly, activities that promote mindfulness for children and for families are being utilized. Some bold uses of meditation in family settings are helping resolve relationship disharmonies. Likewise, mindfulness for children is improving school behavior and academic outcomes. And the outcomes look to be incredibly promising.
Clearly, mindfulness and meditation are not simply activities we should practice for our own personal lives. They are things that have great potential in social settings and within relationships as well.
“Data shows that mindfulness actually increases the grey matter in your brain. It also lowers your reactivity. It can help you recalibrate or regulate your emotions. The science and data are there.” – Mika Brzezinski, Co-Host of NBC’s Morning Joe
I have consistently meditated now for over 5 years and I have found it personally very beneficial. Meditation can be very useful in helping you manage your children, family and yourself. Here are 3 ideas on how to get some great meditation benefits.
Meditation Benefits for Families
Family and marital conflicts are certainly not uncommon. Lack of communication, an inability to appreciate each other’s perspectives, and high levels of emotion can escalate tensions. But therapists are increasingly using mindfulness techniques to improve these family conflicts and problems. In both couples and family therapy, meditation benefits include a cultivation of empathy and better active listening abilities. Ultimately, this not only reduces the level of conflict but enhances deep emotional connections.
For parents, using mindfulness for children offers an innovative approach to parenting. Mindfulness for children has been shown to reduce sibling conflicts and fights with parents. Likewise, mindfulness practices can be used as an alternative to traditional disciplinary tactics. Replacing punishment with mindfulness techniques results in less emotional reactivity and better behaviors over time. And these meditation benefits positively affect family dynamics for everyone.
As a parent, we can sometimes get to the point of pulling our hair out with overactive children. A great technique is to replace punishment or timeouts with meditation time. A short meditation can many times be very powerful in helping change the arc of your child’s day and get them to calmly approach whatever they may need to do next.
“We’ve had parents tell us, ‘I came home the other day stressed out, and my daughter said, “Hey, Mom, you need to sit down. I need to teach you how to breathe.”’ – Andres Gonzalez, Holistic Life Foundation co-founder, a Non-Profit teaching mindfulness for children
Meditation Benefits for Children
Beyond the meditation benefits that kids receive from mindfulness practices at home, these same practices are being used in schools. And for good reason. For example, a Baltimore elementary school has a mindfulness room where kids use various meditation techniques when acting out. These techniques include breathing, meditation, re-centering, and expression. As a result, suspension rates have dramatically declined and academic performance improved. In addition, positive meditation benefits are being seen throughout the school culture as a result.
Several non-profit organizations are promoting mindfulness for children in schools. Holistic Life Foundation, Mindful Schools, and the Mindfulness in Schools Project are just a few. Their research has shown that meditation benefits for children include enhanced ability to focus on studies and homework. Likewise, children routinely share mindfulness practices with their peers, resulting in broad effects. These are having lasting influences on school performance, student behaviors, and educational environments.
“It’s amazing. You wouldn’t think that little kids would meditate in silence. And they do.” – Kirk Philips, Holistic Me Coordinator, elementary school mindfulness for children program
Meditation Benefits for Yourself
Mindfulness practices are often used as a means to distract us from our stresses. However, mindfulness practices should be used to seek to create a life we love. After all, meditation benefits for self-care provide better emotional control and increased resilience. Mindfulness also enhances our sense of belonging, especially when practiced in a group setting. As a result, we come to enjoy better holistic health in the process.
Mindfulness as a technique for self-care has tremendous potential. In addition to managing stress, it also helps us reshape our life to reduce stress in the long-term. Ultimately, this results in additional meditation benefits by lowering the risk for a number of health conditions. Depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, and other illnesses have all been linked to higher stress. Thus, mindfulness practices offer a practical way to improve all aspects of your well-being.
“We’re more impressed these days if someone has good energy versus big muscles, and I think it’s a great shift. Fitness is always going to be important for overall health, but if we don’t find a balance between the mind and the body, we’re really missing the boat on holistic wellness.” – Jamie Hess of NYCfitfam, TV Host & On-Air Wellness Expert
Meditation and Mindfulness – Proactive and Preventative
Though scientific research has lagged behind, the meditation benefits for health have been long appreciated. But today, mindfulness for children, adults, and families is being practiced to enhance individual and social outcomes. Mindfulness and meditation offer a practical, proactive approach to health that has wide-ranging effects. Many are already implementing these practices in several settings with promising results. And it’s only a matter of time that science will “catch up” and prove what we already suspect.
As a by the way, I became a committed meditator after getting proper training on how to successfully meditate. Do it yourself learning is hard to get going correctly. There are a number of different types of meditation practices which I will save for another article. For me, the training from www.tm.org worked.
 Brzezinski, M. (2019). Mika: How I went from mindfulness skeptic to believer. NBC News. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/mika-how-i-went-mindfulness-skeptic-believer-ncna998311
 Gaines, J. (2016). This school replaced detention with meditation. The results are stunning. Upworthy.com. Retrieved from https://www.upworthy.com/this-school-replaced-detention-with-meditation-the-results-are-stunning
 Pajer, N. (2019). Top 11 Wellness Trends of Summer 2019, as Told by the Biggest Health Industry Influencers. Parade. Retrieved from https://parade.com/872614/nicolepajer/top-11-wellness-trends-of-summer-2019-as-told-by-the-biggest-health-industry-influencers/