Calm…a word sparking different thoughts from ‘I wish’ to ‘Yeah right!’ But calm isn’t a tough process. It is something that we should all strive to have and to maintain, a state of being that even others can feel.
Meditation and mindfulness are ways to reach this tantalising tranquillity, whether for you or your children. But sometimes the difference can be blurry as the two terms have been used interchangeably for some time. What do they mean?
(Not So) Soothing Semantics
Over many millennia, the definitions have changed through branching practises, rebel pockets, and our knowledge of the brain evolving. They mean something different to everyone but have generally agreed terms:
Meditation, as described in our previous article, is all about focussing your mind to reach a particular state of relaxation through a specific process. This sounds like a daunting dive into your subconscious, but all it involves is a body and an open mind that’s begging to be cleared!
Mindfulness differs slightly because it is an attempt to become aware of, and maybe understand and grapple with, some ‘thing’. This may not always be relaxing but will help you become more at peace with yourself. Take depression for example. Mindfulness could be practiced to help analyse it and attempt to ease or even overcome it.
Which is Better – Mindfulness or Meditation?
What may confuse people is that Mindfulness is known to also be a form of Meditation. You can meditate to focus your mind, using this new focus to become mindful and analyse your brain to better yourself.
Learning to understand your brain in this way does not require a specific body shape or time, but just the ability to do it.
But for a child, the act of sitting still and meditating may be tough. Meditation can be done whilst walking, but the distractions can be overwhelming for the young.
Studies have shown that mindfulness can mitigate the effects of bullying, help focus and attention issues, aid the development of social skills, and improve wellbeing. Meditation can have similar benefits too, but mindfulness is convenient and can be an ongoing project between parent and child.
Journey to Mindfulness
Teaching mindfulness to kids (and to adults) could not be simpler. It is all about doing what you already do: think. This article is brilliant guide to teaching others (and yourself) how to be mindful.
The article provides many paths, but a key thought is the idea of noting and naming. When you or your child feels happy, identify what that means for your body. Do you smile? Does your chest feel warm? It’s all about getting the person who is experiencing to analyse and be at one with their thoughts, feeling, and environment.
Cases of Calm
When I was younger, I picked up meditation as a way to help soothe anxiety and focus my mind. Then I started merging that with mindfulness and realised what I was doing wrong with my life. It has helped with social problems, academic issues, and mental health issues. This is something that everyone can do and everyone should try!
This may be a whirlwind guide, but it invites you to read further into it with the articles provided as references below to come to your own conclusions.
Mindfulness and meditation shouldn’t be used in place of medication or the word of the doctor but can complement whatever you’re doing. To find out more, all it needs is a web search and you can throw yourself into a world of self-discovery.
Through habituating these steps, you can begin the journey to feeling calm – a wish many have, and few obtain. It is your chance, and your child’s chance, to become at peace with the world around you.
Ackerman, C. (Feb 2017). 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!). Positive Psychology. Retrieved from: https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-for-children-kids-activities/
Moralis, S. (May 2016). 12 Simple Ways to teach Mindfulness to Kids. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/breathe-mama-breathe/201605/12-simple-ways-teach-mindfulness-kids
The Public Purse. (Jul 2019). Brief Meditations on Meditation: Mental Health And The Beautiful Quiet. Retrieved from https://www.thepublicpurse.org.uk/public-health/brief-meditations-on-meditation-mental-health-and-the-beautiful-quiet/