Importance of mind-body connection
As a parent, you know the importance of minimizing stress to raise healthy and well-adjusted children. You try your best to provide the extra-curricular activities that will enhance your child’s interests. You foster their learning and emotional intelligence by offering books, friendships and summer camps. Another tremendous gift you could offer your family is the knowledge and practice of mindfulness for you and your child. We live in an busy and exciting time where we can’t keep up with the ever changing technology that strives to keep us connected in the virtual world. However, eastern practices such as yoga and mindfulness have also entered our everyday conversations. But what does it really mean?
Jon Kabbat-Zinn, the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), defines it as such: “Mindfulness is awareness that arise through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” In essence, it means being aware of and attentive to what’s going on inside and outside of your body. It means not being on “autopilot,” going through the motions of life without a clear connection to what you’re feeling or doing.
Why does it matter? Because the essence of mental health problems such as anxiety or depression is feeling a sense of loss of control and being overwhelmed. If we feel sad, we tend to either regret missed opportunities or people that are no longer with us. If we worry, we project our fears in the future and fear situations that may happen which causes anxiety. These negative emotions can affect our physical well-being leading to muscle tension, headaches as well as other more serious diseases.
Mindfulness can improve general well-being by teaching your child healthy coping skills through breathing meditation or recognizing negative emotions that impact the body through strategies such as scanning the body. It will teach your child the importance of living in the present which is really the most important as life is truly a succession of moments that we should cherish. It teaches the importance of paying attention to others while listening without distractions, which enhances connectedness. It also teaches children to eat mindfully to better appreciate various foods and avoid overeating. It will offer your child a valuable tool to face life’s challenges and to realize that there is always a calm, still place to fall back on inside oneself.
About the author
Vesna Vucicevic is a registered Psychological Associate with over 17 years’ experience working with children and adolescents. She completed her Master’s Degree in School and Child Clinical Psychology from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and The University of Toronto in 1998. She has also been registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario since 2014.
- Looking at the social, emotional and academic needs of your child
- Maintaining academic skills over the summer
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