This week for the first time I got a chance to do Mindfulness workshop with kindergarten children in Zagreb. It was my personal Project idea when I came to Croatia and I couldn’t get the chance because of the language barrier but thanks to Zagreb and my organization we found an Amerikan kindergarten to have this workshop. I felt very appreciated for being with this children and teach them about being Mindful.
Mindfulness is a new approach and it means maintaining a moment by moment being aware of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. It also means acceptance that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than reviewing the past or imagining the future.
Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhist meditation and as a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers and more.
Mindfulness has countless benefits for children as well. It teaches kids strategies for developing emotional awareness, attentional stability, self-control, empathy, and stress management. Children do not have the same ability to sharing their feelings as adults do when they are stressed, have difficulties in concentrating, and face negative emotions and do not have the knowledge about how they should handle it. This is why children need assistance in dealing with their emotions. Mindfulness works as a useful tool in assisting children to deal with subjects related to their emotional intelligence and inner strength and in general, it helps them to deal with their emotions.
From my point of view, Mindfulness should be a part of our school as a lesson. In many developed countries such as UK, Finland, Sweden, Norway many schools are using this method to teach children how to deal with their emotions but still it is not popular in all around the world enough. Actually, it is needed for undeveloped countries and especially countries with war, refugees in other countries children really need this education to get relief from their stress.
I recently met with Mindfulness and Buddhist approach in my life and I have seen many benefits on me but I can not imagine how my life would be if I could meet it in my childhood. I reached my EVS goal before I finish my EVS but also I would like to do this workshops in my country to help children with disadvantages. My volunteering experience, in the end, gave me some direction in my life after my project finishes. I am very appreciated one more time!