The stillness of thoughts or the presence in the present seems to fade away with passing days. There are studies that show that a steady increase in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder) among both children and adults. There are few medical remedies for this. But, those have tremendous side effects. When Anumita’s elder son was diagnosed with it, he was given medication. The effect of the medication zombified him. He was not the child she knew. She immediately took him off it. As most moms, she did her research. Children with such and other disorders can have a life with more concentration and attentiveness without being medicated. Among most of the studies, she found a common remedy, it was meditation. Read more about it, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Our world is constantly bombarded with lights, sounds, and smells, which overstimulate our senses. These stimuli often cause us to be overactive, hyperactive as well as attention deficit. My kid is often eager to be on his iPad or his phone rather than sit and talk. He is not unique; it is a common phenomenon.
If you look around, it has become a usual sight to see that people are either looking or listening to their phone or their electronic devices. The mind is constantly being shot with images and sounds.
The stillness of thoughts or the presence in the present seems to fade away with passing days. There are studies that show that a steady increase in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder) among both children and adults.
There are few medical remedies for this. But, those have tremendous side effects. When my elder son was diagnosed with it, he was given medication. The effect of the medication zombified him. He was not the child I knew. I immediately took him off it.
As most moms, I did my research. Children with such and other disorders can have a life with more concentration and attentiveness without being medicated. Among most of the studies, I found a common remedy, it was meditation.
The world meditation always recalls images of sages and monks sitting for hours and chanting. The image is right but it is not the only image.
Meditation is a source or a pathway for bringing in the stillness or calming of our misfiring senses. It is not a difficult process, and it can be modified to suit your needs. It is the most moldable remedy which can be tailor fit for both the parent and the child.
The best thing about meditation is that it gives benefits to both the parent and the child. It is a win-win situation for the entire family.
Apart from being stimulated by electronic devices, children have stresses of life. They have peer pressure, study related anxieties, and social pressures both from family and the world. The combination of all these causes children to overreact or shutdown.
When our mind is engrossed in some sight or work which pleases us, then we lose the effect of anxiety. For example, when we are hearing good music, or watching a beautiful sunset, or even reading a wonderful book, we are happy. Everyone has their own “go-to place”, which is a haven from all the worries.
Meditation is just that. It a place where the mind can rest. It is a way of making a person or child more mindful. There is no age to start meditation[i]. I had started meditation for my child from the age of 10. I wish I had started earlier.
UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center introduced a meditation program to preschoolers. The results of the research clearly proved that meditation had a positive effect on the children. They were more mindful and could concentrate better in their daily activities. There was substantial increase in their memory, as well.
Teenagers often suffer from anxiety resulting from test/exams and added pressure of academic competition. Meditation for just five to ten minutes a day can help release much of the anxious feelings. Meditation can also help in matters like falling asleep, dealing with grief and other difficult emotions, fighting disease, releasing negative thoughts and behaviors, and getting along better with others.
It is a wrong thought that meditation is difficult and it needs a lot of time. Meditation is not easy but it not that difficult either. We need only five minutes of our day to do meditation. That five minute can be any time of the day. The mornings are preferable, as it is the best time to align our thoughts for the rest of the day. But, meditation during the evening or before bed is equally beneficial. A session of meditation before bed improves the quality of sleep.
Parents meditating with their children would be the best. Often our children mimic us. This would be a wonderful example to set for them. Every school day, I spend 20 mins in the morning doing some simple yoga and meditating. As my child, could not sit still for more than a minute, I used the breathing technique with him.
Simple breathing in with a count of four, and hold for ten seconds and then release it at the count of eight. Once he mastered this technique, I added another step to it. We would focus on our chakra points while holding our breath. After a year, he was doing well on the focusing. Then we increased the time spend on it. We both feel good after our session. Before we start our breathing exercise, we often talk about the issues he must address that day at school.
When there are issues which would stress him more than others, we added few images to go with our meditation. When we breathe out, we visualise the stress leaving our body. This takes time. The key is to keep practicing every day.
There are various ways to incorporated meditation in our children’s lives. Meditation does not always mean that we have to sit in one place and clear our minds. It can be a walking meditation or laying down meditation too. Every family can create a form of meditation which would suit their family and their schedule. Be flexible and be creative.
Many schools have decided to keep meditation as a part of their daily routine. This could be the beginning for a natural way of helping children be more focused and mindful. But, as all good habits, everything starts at home. So, let’s take a few minutes of our hectic routine, and practice a few minutes of meditation with our children. A little investment for the long run.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Photo from the internet.
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