Every day at 11:11am, we invite our facebook followers in the UK and Ireland (those abroad can join in too!) to join us in a minute of meditation.
While some people believe that the time hold some significance to their own spiritual beliefs or personal beliefs, in the Relax Kids office, we use 11:11 as a time to clear our minds and enjoy a few moments of mindfulness.
The practice of ‘mindfulness’ originates from buddhist meditation traditions, but has since been adopted by Western psychologists, health and wellbeing experts, and is even taught in schools!
Mindfulness means being aware of our thoughts and feelings as they are happening. If you take a walk in the sunshine, for example, mindfulness means being aware of the grass, the trees, the flowers and the warmth of the sun on our bodies as we walk, rather than just worrying about our destination.
Research has shown that mindfulness techniques actually improve concentration, focus and listening skills. By clearing our minds for a few moments and focusing on nothing but ourselves in the present, we can learn to remove any distracting or limiting thoughts we might have, such as “I can’t do this” or worrying about all the tasks/work we have still to do.
Trying to think about too many things at once almost always has a negative effect. Mindfulness techniques help us clear our minds and learn to focus positively on one clear goal at a time.
Professors at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry have set up a dedicated Mindfulness Centre, conducting ongoing research into the benefits and development of mindfulness techniques.
Department director, Professor Mark Williams stresses the importance of teaching mindfulness techniques to children, so that they can learn to cope with mounting pressures from school, peers and family.
Professor Williams claims, “unless we do something now, our children are likely to be more stressed than ever by the time they reach adulthood.”
Relax Kids classes and products teach children positive mindfulness techniques, including breathing exercises and visualisations. Our exercises are all simple and effective, so that children can use these techniques to calm themselves down when they feel worried or stressed, or if they need to concentrate on a particularly difficult or daunting task.