• Benefits of Mindfulness

    Everyone faces challenging situations and stressful events. Having the skills to manage difficult times can help our children thrive. Because children are not born with these skills, they need to be taught. One especially good skill to help children cope with challenges they face in their daily lives is mindfulness. Mindfulness can be thought of as a super-skill that’s made up of two small skills:

    • Awareness: noticing the little things right now (thoughts, feelings, and sensations)
    • Acceptance: maintaining this awareness with gentleness and kindness, rather than trying to change or judge the experience

    Mindfulness helps children to pay attention to what’s going on right now, while also being kind to themselves and those around them—even when it’s hard to do.

  • Mental Health Effects of Mindfulness

    The effects of mindfulness for children and adolescents has a growing scientific literature with evidence demonstrating it can:

    • Reduce stress
    • Reduce emotional problems 
    • Reduce behavior problems and aggression
    • Reduce depression
    • Improve happiness
    • Increase self-regulation and attention abilities
    • Increase calming and relaxation skills
    • Improve cognitive performance
    • Increase resilience

    Sources: Zenner, Herrnleben-Kurz, & Walach, 2014; Sapthiang, Van Gordon, & Shonin, 2019 

    For more information on the research and practice of mindfulness visit UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center

  • Mindfulness for Elementary-Aged Children

    Sometimes life presents stressful situations that can overwhelm us: we may not do well in school, have trouble with others, or feel really sad or angry for no real reason. The good news is that there are skills we can learn to help us in tough situations, so that we can overcome challenges and be the successful people we want to be. When we talk about overcoming challenges, this doesn’t mean that they go away. Mindfulness helps us to pay attention to our feelings and thoughts and allows us to make good choices and do our very best, even when things are hard.

    Classrooms across our district are using "Mindful Minutes" on soundcloud.com, which provide brief guided mindfulness experiences as part of the Choose Love Program. 

    Here are a few examples of guided meditations for children:

    An Introduction to Mindful Minutes
    Tapping into your Inner Jedi

    Brave Breath

    A Brave Breath helps to calm us down and regulate the fight or flight response we feel when we sense danger. Oftentimes our bodies are sending us a false alarm and there isn't any danger. At those times, people may feel worried. When we manage our stress response with a Brave Breath, we become more aware of ourselves and can build courage to face difficult situations with a sense of calm. When we are calm, we are better able to express ourselves and relate better to others. 

    Here is another example of a Brave Breath practice

  • Video Library

    For Elementary 

  • Mindfulness Research and Practice 

  • Mindfulness for Adolescents

    We all face challenging situations and in moments of stress we can either respond or react to perceived threats. When someone makes a hurtful comment or we struggle on a test, it is easy to react by lashing back with our own hurtful comments or immediately beating ourselves up. Mindfulness allows us to respond to threats, rather than react impulsively. Mindfulness helps us to pause and be aware of our experience in the moment without judgment, and provides the freedom to choose how we respond, rather than be swept up in emotion. 

    Mindfulness is a mental skill and, like every skill, takes practice to improve. Setting aside a period of the day to sit down, be still, and practice is a helpful way to better this skill. One way to practice is through mindfulness meditations. Free guided mindfulness meditations can be found at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.

  • Books on Mindfulness

    Most books are available at the Livermore Public Library