Can you imagine what the world would be like if we had a generation of young adults who were educated, conscious, inspired and able to control and regulate their emotions?
Angry rages, irritable tiffs, nail-biting anxiety and self-consciousness would nearly be eradicated. Random shootings and violence would diminish and in its place would stand a collective group of earthlings that embraced kindness, mindfulness and change. Humans would be humane. Souls could look past perceived individual suffering and step towards a brighter, more hopeful future.
Now let’s bring that back a level.
What if this type of positive energy was embraced not only as young adults, but also throughout a person’s lifetime?
What if, in addition to learning languages, arithmetic and science, children were taught how to foster and support mindfulness and consciousness so they could harness this knowledge throughout their days? To learn to live in the moment, control their emotions and address stress before it became a problem?
But you have to admit … it’d be a world changer.
And yet only one thing would have to change: making the words ‘meditation for children’ totally, completely and wholeheartedly normal.
Here’s why it should happen:
Meditation helps you focus.
Meditation is a lesson in attention and by regularly focusing your attention while meditating, you can improve your focus during your regular day-to-day activities as well as during your meditation practice.
Meditation boosts creativity.
The clever folks at Leiden University in the Netherlands studied the effects of meditation on creativity and came up with the following verdict: by practicing open-monitoring meditation participants significantly improved their creativity in an allocated task. In addition to this, it was easier for them to come up with new ideas.
Meditation can ease stress + anxiety.
Okay so the scientific spiel is this: your prefrontal cortex processes information that relate to you and your experiences. When something happens that you don’t like (you get hurt, attacked, insulted etc.), a message gets sent down specific neural pathways to trigger a reaction in your prefrontal cortex.
But these pathways are like treks through a forest and the more you travel down them, the easier it is to get through. So instead of experiencing fear for the big things, like when you’re chased by a bear, you experience fear at little day-to-day things like your local café running out of your favorite type of muffins.
But when we meditate, we loosen the connections of those particular neural pathways and as a result, we don’t react as strongly to our day-to-day experiences and can think (and feel!) more rationally. It’s like planting some trees and shrubs in the forest so the well-worn path is harder to manoeuvre.
A 2012 research study also showed that mindful meditation can help you perform under pressure while feeling less stressed.
People who meditate are more compassionate.
Two significant studies on meditation have revealed that regular meditation can lead to more compassion and empathy. The first experiment showed that by practicing ‘compassionate meditation’ individuals experienced more compassion, were able to better regulate their emotional reactions and could focus more easily.
The second study linked regular meditation with stronger activation levels in the temporal parietal junctures, which is a part of the brain connected to empathy.
Meditation can boost your memory.
Catherine Kerr of the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center discovered that individuals who practiced mindful meditation were able to tune out distractions and boost their productivity more quickly than individuals that did not meditate. She connected this ability with increased memory capacity as well.
Meditation can increase your grey matter.
Regular meditation has been connected to larger amounts of gray matter in the hippocampus and frontal areas of the brain. This in turn is associated with a greater incidence of positive emotions and emotional stability as well as better focus. It also reduces the impact of aging on our cognitive functioning.
And while there are plenty of other research studies on how regular meditation can improve your mind, body and soul, even just these handful are a strong case for the introducing meditation into our educational systems.
After all, wouldn’t you want your child to be happier and more creative while experiencing less stress and anxiety?
We can change the world. We just need to start using the right tools to support us in this quest.
For more enlightenment and self-care, don’t forget to check out our Truth or Dare Self-Discovery + Happiness Game!
Cass also owns and runs Wild Spirit Co., a creative copywriting (which is just fancy word for ‘writing’) agency devoted to helping soulful small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups communicate their brand with confidence. You can hire her for website copywriting, eBook copywriting and editing, sales page copywriting, article writing, blogging, editing, proofreading and more. Visit her site at http://www.wildspirit.co
A quintessential daydreamer with a penchant for cloud-watching, reading, yoga, hula-hooping and crisp, mountain air (or really, nature of any kind, but mountain air sounded way cooler), she can usually be found with a book in one hand and a journal in the other. The pen, of course, will be tucked behind her ear at some stage and quickly forgotten as she floats through the rest of her day.