Mastering the art of mindfulness can be a powerful way to transform one’s life.
I know this from years of experience and it is my passion to impart this knowledge to anyone open to learn it. So many people say to me “Wow! You have so much motivation and willpower!” I believe this idea can be lethal to success if people believe that is what it takes. Trust me, it takes a lot more than that. Change doesn’t happen because of consistent motivation or the willpower one has; It happens through awareness, persistence, discipline, and consistently making the choice to move forward. It is having the capacity to deal with and recover from challenges. It is the ability to deal with short-term and long-term stressful situations.
Through research, experience, and education I know that the practice of mindfulness widens perspective around the world in which we live and promotes a balance of emotion within. It enables one to approach life with composure, understanding, improved focus, and resilience. Each time we practice mindfulness, we improve our ability to notice what is going on with our thoughts, emotions, and senses. We begin to recognize incidents more quickly, giving us the space to respond differently under pressure. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is rooted in evidence from psychology and neuroscience. It is proven to lower stress levels emotionally and physiologically, and gives power to change. It increases the ability to break reactionary patterns and builds inner strength so future stressors have less of an impact on happiness and physical well-being.
Psychiatrist Victor Frankl said, “Between a stimulus and a response lies space. In that space, lies the power to choose a response. In that response lies our growth and freedom.” All the answers and the opportunities for change are within those little spaces that, with the business of life, we fail to give attention to. Mindfulness is the practice that teaches our brain the habit of slowing down and observing. The capacity of mindfulness gives us the ability to observe space between bombarding thoughts, the space between our thoughts and emotions, the space between emotions and underlying emotions, the space between our emotions and reactions, emotions and our behaviors. Observing all the spaces between allows us to harness mindful action. As we begin to analyze automatic behaviors and reactions to emotions, urges, and triggers, we harness the power of mindful action, action with purpose and intention. All of this begins with awareness, becoming mindful of or noticing something needs to change or a habit needs to be altered. It can impact our ability to foster change as we are prepared to observe our failures and view them as opportunity for growth, and to be aware in the next moment. It gives us the strength that is needed to make lasting changes.
Adults aren't the only ones who have struggle responding to stressors; Children have difficulty applying what they have been taught in the heat of the moment. I heard a saying once that goes something like…”Children should not be thought of as empty bottles to be filled, but as candles to be lit”. It is my joy to help each and every child develop their true potential by giving them the tools necessary to discover their passions and strengths in order to find pride in who they are and who they can become.
Children are constantly told to listen up and pay attention, but have they ever been taught HOW?? I believe, in order to be successful in school and life, children must be taught how to be mindful. Being mindful means paying attention to what is happening in the present moment. Mindfulness education provides the social and emotional skills for living and methods to reduce stress and anxiety. They can gain focus and awareness, and the ability to concentrate. As they become self aware and self expressive, they develop their own motivations for learning and place within a community. .
As children learn to be responsible for their own learning and success, they become “a lit candle”. They develop a drive for learning and the tools to be happy in life, such as creative ways to handle difficult emotions and stress, how to listen mindfully when learning and communicating, how to respond, rather than react, and awareness of thought. As children practice mindfulness, they become aware of their thinking, leading to awareness of emotion, learning and overall self. Life is a schoolroom of continuous opportunities for learning and growth and given the right tools, anyone can achieve happiness and success.