Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Benefits of Teaching Meditation to Children

Enjoy this article sharing the benefits of teaching children to meditate...

June 22, 2015
Written by Raven Fon 
I am sure a lot of you have experienced the fantastic practice of meditation. Boasting a wide variety of benefits, meditation is proven to have a massive impact on your mental and emotional well-being. Burdened with stress, and facing something has been challenging you, meditation is an excellent way to relax and gain insight in your daily life. Could you imagine if the practice of meditation was taught to you as a child? The impact on your life would have been drastic.
ImageThere are countless benefits to teaching children meditation. A few years ago, the school district of San Francisco was searching for a way to help troubled teens in their schools. After much thought and deliberation, they went forward with a program called "quiet time". The program gave students the opportunity to practice transcendental meditation, which involves the use of a sound or mantra within the technique, for 15 minutes a day. The school board had hopes that this would assist students in letting go of stress and confusion in their lives. The school saw  a 79% decrease in suspensions, a 98.3% increase in attendance, and an increase to student's GPA by 4, only four years after the start of "Quiet Time", according to Collective Evolution.
If we started teaching meditation to our younger generations, would it prevent fighting and bullying, would drop-outs dwindle in numbers? Would it maybe give them a head-start to provide them with the necessary life tools for a more peaceful, successful life?
The wonderful organization called Tonic For The Soul recently started a campaign to fundraise in support of instilling meditation time during school hours for kids and teenagers. Their goal is to "empower the youth with the tools that bring calm, focus and happiness" to give them the best start to life.
The money that is raised will help with the production of a guided meditation series, a website, and a table at a major Health and Wellness Expo.
The children of today will be the leaders of the future- imagine how this one simple practice could shape our tomorrows for the better.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Minding Your Body

In addition to knowing your mind-body type and its requirements, it is also important for your mind to know how to listen to your body. We have heard the phrase, “Listen to your body!” for years, only no one has ever told us how to do it. In the past, we have been taught to listen to our body by jogging at a pace that allows us to hold a conversation with our partner. To me, this technique sounds more like listening to someone else’s body rather than your own.
Inadvertently, many of us have been conditioned to distract our mind from our body during exercise. Oftentimes, exercise is found to be too boring unless we have a TV to watch, a book to read, or a magazine to flip through.
It seems we have resigned ourselves to the fact that exercise is mindless and boring, so we engage our minds in one activity while our bodies do another. High-tech distraction devices have emerged on the scene as virtual reality workout centers and TV-ridden cardio-theaters fill health clubs. People can now exercise beyond their tolerance without boredom and without feeling the pain. “No pain, no gain” has been replaced with, “If we distract you, you won’t feel it.” But when we are distracted from the pain, you miss the lesson it's trying to teach you, and sooner or later, you pay the price with injuries.
In order to be efficient, exercise has to be enjoyable to the practitioner. Move your body daily in a living way. Choose effort over violence. Learn the difference. When you listen and respect your body, it loves you back!
Transcend Mind-Body Counseling Center

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

See Your Anxiety As A Gift With A Message

If you struggle with anxiety, you're also a highly sensitive and creative person. Instead of labeling the anxiety as "bad" or slapping an additional diagnosis across your forehead, a more compassionate approach encourages you to see your anxiety as a gift with a message embedded in the symptoms. 
This means that instead of judging your sensitivity as a negative trait, you begin to see the whole package of who you are as a gift and recognize one simple truth: If you're going to get through this life with grace, you have to find the willingness and the courage to feel your painful or uncomfortable feelings. The only way out is through, as we say in psychology.
Can you imagine how different your life would be if, every time you felt that pang of loss or sadness, instead of judging it as "overly-sensitive" you moved toward it with kindness? If you simply put your hand on your heart and said to yourself, "It's okay to feel sad. Sadness is a part of life," something inside of you would relax and a small space would open up. A collection of those small spaces leads to a state of acceptance where you're in alignment with life. 
We carry so many fears about feeling pain, fears that arise from not learning how to move toward pain with compassion as kids. We fear that if we feel it, it will never end. We fear that it will overwhelm us and we'll die or go crazy. We fear that feeling our pain is for "sissies", that pain is a sign of weakness. We try to "buck up and get over it" but it doesn't go away. It squashes down into the hidden places of the heart and morphs into anxiety or depression. We long for serenity, freedom from the torture chamber of anxiety, worry, and intrusive thoughts, but find that it's continually just out of reach. 

This is one of the pathways to serenity: allowing yourself to move toward the uncomfortable places—"the places that scare you," . It's a courageous path, especially as it flies in the face of everything you learned as a child and everything the culture upholds as desirable qualities (i.e. being "tough"), but true healing always involves the courage to shed the habitual beliefs and actions that are keeping you stuck so that you can embrace the person you are meant to be.