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Published on August 8, 2018

How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

Do you want the best for your kid? Of course you do!

Boosting your kid’s learning ability and social skills in less than 20 minutes a day? That’s where guided meditation for kids comes in.

You have probably heard a lot about meditation the last couple years. As there’s more and more research in the area of meditation, a lot of people finally start to see the benefits.

A subject that’s not talked about too much is that meditation can also help kids grow incredible learning and social skills.

Meditation for kids is becoming more popular every day as parents want their kids to see the benefits too.

What is guided meditation for kids?

First things first, what exactly is the guided meditation for kids that is talked about in this article?

We can define meditation with the help of Headspace:[1]

Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

And according to GuidedMind, guided meditation is:[2]

Guided meditation is when you are guided, by a narrator, to elicit a specific change in your life. You are first guided to relax your body and mind, to help you reach a deep meditative state before going on a journey, in your mind, to reach a specific goal.

If you want to get into guided meditation, read this:

The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

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As you may know, there are a lot of variations on meditation. This includes:

  • Mindfulness, focusing on the breath while accepting everything that’s happening (thoughts, sounds, etc.).
  • (Guided) Visualization, visualizing a particular event, environment, feeling, etc.
  • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM), focusing on the breath and the heart while feeling at one with everything. A focus on downward energy flow within the body.
  • Transcendental Meditation (TM), this technique is literally about transcending the negative through internal mantras.
  • Qi Gong, this is a form of meditation that is done through specific movement patterns while focusing on the breath.
  • Kundalini focuses on the upward flow of energy within the body. Focusing on that energy with your breath gives you a higher sense of consciousness.
  • Zazen, sitting with a back straight while focusing on deep breaths.

You can find out more about different forms in this article:

17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) to Practice Mindfulness

All these forms of meditation can be done individually or guided. Guided meditation for kids is the best choice because it will make it easier for them to follow and understand.

The benefits of meditation for kids

There are a lot of benefits meditation has to offer, but the most important benefit is that it relieves stress. In this time and age, this becomes more important than ever.

(Post-)millennials are dealing with a lot of stress due to the amount of work pressure, opportunities (decision making) and student loan debt (which results in wanting early financial success).[3]

Making sure children are stress resistant is of high importance for the future of their lives.

Of course, there are way more benefits to meditation. So, to convince you further; here follow more benefits to meditation.

There are precisely 76 benefits to meditation which are scientifically proved.[4] But the main benefits of meditation are:

  • Improved concentration[5]
  • Increased happiness[6]
  • Slows down the aging process[7]
  • Increased immunity[8] and cardiovascular health[9]
  • Improved mood and brain power

Here I’m going to look into some of meditation’s benefits that parents care about most:

Boost learning ability

The question is: ‘How does meditation for kids improve learning ability?’

There are, of course, multiple answers but there’s one simple answer; concentration. As you read earlier on in this article, meditation improves the ability to concentrate.

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If the ability to concentrate increases, it will lead to an increased attention span which is one of the factors that affect learning.

By implementing guided meditation into your kids’ life; he/she will become a better learner.

Another reason to increase the attention span of your child beside learning is that our average attention span per person is decreasing exponentially because of all the distractions that we have around us.

The more we let distractions in, the less easy it becomes to really focus on something. This is because it takes us 23 minutes to get into something after being distracted.[10]

Improve social skills

The way meditation for kids improves the social skills of the meditator is through the sense of presence it creates.[11] Being present in a conversation is more important than you may think.

Do you know those people who are just way up in their head which makes it hard to have an in-depth conversation with?

They probably don’t meditate.

By being present in a conversation, you can better understand the person you’re talking to. Not being carried away by your thoughts makes it easier to process the information the other is providing. Including non-verbal signs, you may never have noticed if you weren’t present.

Meditation for kids also improves charisma because of the loving nature that grows from meditating. Especially the kindness and gratitude focused forms of meditation for kids. By being more kind and grateful; your kid will increase in charisma and feeling of interconnectedness which will improve social skills.

Last but not least, implementing guided meditation for kids in the form of guided meditation by you (the parent) will likely improve the relationship between you and your child.

This creates the opportunity to educate your child on specific social skills you’ve picked up and the other way around. Also, a child is very dependent on its environment.

By increasing social skills yourself, you will improve the social skills of your child.

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How to get started with guided meditation for kids

Below follows a step-by-step process on how to implement guided meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

Step 1: Do it yourself first

Have you ever tried learning Spanish from someone who doesn’t speak Spanish? No, because it doesn’t make sense!

This is the same for meditation for kids. If you want to teach your kid how to meditate, you will first have to do it yourself.

Pick a form of meditation for kids you think would work best and get the hang of it. Follow guided meditation via YouTube or any platform you like.

Suggestions: Visualization meditation, body scan meditation or simple mindfulness.

There’s an easy guide on meditation you can do anywhere at any time:

The 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

Step 2: Expose your kid to the practice

By exposing your kid to the practice without him/her knowing, its intention will raise their curiosity. This makes it easier to convince them afterward.

Meditate in the presence of them; put your earplugs in and start meditating while they are around. When they talk to you or touch you while you’re meditating, keep meditating until they walk away.

When you’re done, you can explain what you were doing and why you were doing and ask to do it together. Explain it in a way, so they understand it.

Here’s an article that will help you explain mindfulness to your kid:

Mindfulness: What it is and How to Explain it to Kids and Adults

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Tip: Make it sound like it’s very special (which it is) so that they’ll grow their curiosity and excitement even more.

Step 3: Do it together

Now that you have the interest of your child and know the essence of meditation you can finally do it together. Guide them through the meditation or put on the meditation you followed before.

Make it a fun and enjoyable experience for your child at first while keeping the essence of meditation in mind.

As you and your child progress you may want to make it more serious.

Step 4: Let your child express himself/Herself entirely

You will get a lot of insights about your feelings and thoughts through meditation. Your child will also experience these things and may want to express it.

Ask your child after the meditation what he/she experienced or felt. Let them get rid of everything that’s bothering them.

Step 5: Be consistent

As you do it more frequently; you will build a habit for you and your kid that will benefit you both. Reward them after each meditation.

Make it a fun experience instead of something they must do. Don’t push it.

Step 6: Be calm and let it be

Again, don’t push it and don’t expect anything. You want to get your child into meditation for kids so he/she can benefit from it in the long run. But you can’t decide for your kid if he/she wants it or not.

You will have to educate yourself first before you can train your child. Read books or articles about meditation for kids and try your best.

Conclusion

Here’s a summary of the key points you have learned by reading this article:

  • You now know what (guided) meditation for kids is.
  • You know why it’s so important to include (guided) meditation into your and your kids’ life.
  • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the learning ability of your kid.
  • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the social skills of your kid.
  • You have the steps you can follow to implement meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

Good luck and start meditating with your kids!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Marnix Buijs

Marnix Buijs is a blogger on his own blog seekingme.net where he helps people find their true selves through self-development and spreading love.

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Last Updated on May 16, 2019

Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain?

Can You Stop Depression from Damaging Your Brain?

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in America, according to the latest mental health statistics.[1] Approximately 17.3 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode.

In this article, we will take a deep look into depression, what a depression brain is like, and how to prevent the damage from depression.

What is Depression?

In order to tap into treatment options for depression, we must first examine what defines this disorder.

Apart from differing scientific and medical jargon, depression – also known as Major Depressive Disorder – is best categorized as a serious mood disorder.

While it is common, it is anything but innocent. The symptoms of depression have serious effects on daily living, and leave the afflicted person with an inability to carry out normal tasks, such as working, interacting with friends and family, and sleeping.

Depression itself is an umbrella term for a list of specific types of depression, such as Postpartum Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (which leads into serious symptoms of depression), Bipolar Disorder, and Psychotic Depression (which is depression with symptoms of psychosis), just to name a few.[2]

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While everyone experiences moments of depression in their life, being clinically diagnosed with depression is usually done with the aid of medical help. This diagnosis typically relies on a baseline of depression symptoms that have been present for at least two weeks.

Symptoms of Depression

Because depression is categorized as a serious mood disorder, most symptoms will begin with a person’s behavior. A person may feel persistent sadness that simply won’t go away, or they may experience a loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed, like gardening, traveling, or working out.

Other symptoms, although not a complete list, may persist:

  • Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
  • Anxiety
  • Angry outbursts, followed by a complete mood change (from happy to sad in very quick shifts)
  • Struggles with insomnia or significant changes in sleep schedule
  • Inability and lack of desire to get out of bed in the morning
  • Significant decrease in personal hygiene, nutrition, and maintenance of their home or space
  • Decreased interactions with friends, family, or colleagues
  • Lack of energy and physical weakness, apathy, or pains and aches
  • Trouble concentrating on specific tasks or making decisions
  • Frequent thoughts about death, or even suicidal plans, thoughts, or attempts
  • Back pain and headaches

While this list is not complete or exhaustive to a person’s struggle with depression, it does provide a general picture of some of the common symptoms.[3])

Causes of Depression

Mental health disorders still very much pose a mystery to medical professionals and science, in general. While depression is treated in a variety of ways (medicine, therapy, alternative healing, etc.), professionals are still learning more about this disorder and how it affects people of different genders, ages, and backgrounds.

However, a variety of factors are known to be possible contributors to depression, such as:

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  • Hormones – in cases of giving birth or going through menopause, women’s hormones quickly change, which can trigger depression or similar symptoms
  • Genes – while not everyone gets depression from inherited traits, it is a factor, and research has seen a correlation between depression in families that is carried through generations
  • Brain chemistry – one of the key factors in understanding cause of depression is brain chemistry, specifically neurotransmitters that work with the neuro-circuits in the brain to balance mood stability. If these neurotransmitters are not working properly, it could lead to depression or similar symptoms

We already mentioned brain chemistry, and how it plays an integral part in understanding how your brain works in relation to mood stability. Neurotransmitters are your body’s chemical messengers. They transmit these messages between neurons for a plethora of reasons – cognitive function, organ function, dopamine release, etc.[4]

In terms of relating this to depression, however, those transmitters also regulate mood stability, and if they’re not relaying messages correctly or connecting to the brain circuitry in normal, functioning ways, we see a correlation between that “misfiring” and mental illness.

To paint a picture, imagine your brain split in half, the two lobes or hemispheres perfectly separated from each other.

Now, imagine the mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters like tiny little ping-pong balls that bounce from one hemisphere of the brain to the other, relaying messages that connect the brain as a whole. This is what we normally see in a healthy functioning brain.

However, if there is a change in this chemistry, and the ping-pong balls are not crossing and relaying as they should, that change creates a shift in your brain circuitry that may cause depression or similar symptoms.

Because our brain is an extremely complex and intricate organ which scientists are still studying and learning about, it wouldn’t be complete to say that only chemical imbalances cause depression.

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In fact, recent Harvard research suggests that a slew of factors are involved in creating a correlation between depression and your brain function. These are inclusive of the neurotransmitters we described above, but they also include your way of life, medication, stress levels, and even genetic contributions or ways in which you were brought up.[5]

Because depression is a mood disorder, we have to look at our behavior, and how it is influenced by our brain chemistry.

Behavior is shaped by our temperament, and much of that comes from our genetics. We are predisposed to act in certain social situations in ways that tie us to our family chain.

How we react to life circumstances or other people is very much a reflection of what we picked up from our parents, guardians, friends, or social upbringing. From this, we may make different choices in life, for better or worse, depending on these genetics.

Similarly, our view of the world and our relation to it also have a hand in how depression may form. We create our world view early on in life, and while it is influenced by our family and life events, it’s also very much our own.

If you’ve experienced loss or disappointment, you’re likely to fall back on your world view to cope with it and allow it to protect you. As an example, you may close yourself off from new relationships because you’ve endured heartbreak and don’t believe that you’re worthy of real love; or, you come from an upbringing that wasn’t emotionally available, so you don’t create habit patterns or behaviors that show you how to handle emotion in a healthy way.

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All of these scenarios create behavior. In turn, that behavior creates habit patterns, that in turn, create your daily life and your interaction with it.

While chemical imbalances can have a direct role in manifesting depressive episodes, we have to be aware that our own, inherent behavioral traits are just as powerful contributors.

Medications to re-balance any chemical disruptions in the brain are a proactive tool against depression. These can be explained and provided to you by a medical health professional.

When it comes to our behavior, however, and how we deal with stress, trauma, loss, medical problems, and the like – all of which are triggers for depression – we can implement new habits[6] that can decrease any damage to our state of body and mind, such as:

  • Meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Yoga or any body-conscious movement or workout
  • Journaling about life events or problems we encounter on a daily basis
  • Therapy or group-sharing
  • Acupuncture, Reiki, or any alternative-healing modality
  • Diet and nutrition rich in foods that cleanse and empower (rather than numb and overpack the gut)
  • Hiking, running, biking, or any cardio-increasing activity
  • Spending time with others who support you

These are habits and tools that you can implement on your own, as well as with a professional. Remember to always consult with your doctor before starting any new regiment.

The Bottom Line

Depression is a disorder that affects our mood. While research has uncovered that depression may be linked to chemical imbalances in the brain, it also suggests that our behavior and inherent genetic traits are strongly connected to how depression manifests.

How you deal with the many ups and downs of daily life are strong indicators of where you may want to make changes, whether medicinal or alternative, to decrease your chances of depression and its damage, and embrace a life of health and well-being.

Featured photo credit: AJ Garcia via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] National Institute of Mental Health: Major Depression
[2] National Institute of Mental Health: Depression
[3] Mayo Clinic: Depression (Major Depressive Disorder
[4] Queensland Brain Institute: What are Neurotransmitters
[5] Harvard Health: What Causes Depression?
[6] Help Guide: Coping with Depression

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