Mindfulness is one of the key values that Mimochai shares. Based on personal experience, we believe the practice of mindfulness is incredibly important to kids and grown-ups to lead a balanced, healthy life. It helps us cultivate gratitude for ourselves, others, and life in general.
Coupled with creativity, a practice of mindfulness nurtures the kind of character that makes the world a better place. And that's amazing.
We want to share why we believe mindfulness is so important.
What is Mindfulness?
First of all, what is mindfulness?
Mindful.org defines it as "the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us."
Headspace, a popular meditation app, defines it as "the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we're doing at the moment—free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them."
Thich Nhat Hanh, a revered Buddhist monk and global spiritual leader, writes "Mindfulness is above all the capacity simply to recognize the presence of an object without taking sides, without judging, and without craving or despising that object."
While different people may word it differently, the key elements of mindfulness are (1) conscious awareness, (2) in the present moment, (3) without judgment.
You can be mindful at any time. In fact, the more often you are mindful, the more benefits you will reap from it. It's like a garden—the greater the care, the greater the harvest. And just like a good garden, it takes time and consistency but the results are magical.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Why is being mindful so important? Can it really do all it promises?
We should see mindfulness as the foundational building block towards all its benefits, not the magic pill to immediately fix all of life's problems. It's like a muscle in our brain that we work out, and the stronger it gets, the more benefits we see.
If the centuries of personal experience proving the benefits of mindfulness are not persuasive, modern neurological studies have also proven it from a scientific point of view. Mindfulness (coupled with a meditation practice) has been proven to help:
- Increase focus, and boost working memory
- Nurture empathy and compassion, and improve relationships
- Cultivate calm and balance, and thus reduce stress and likelihood of depression
- Improve physical health, including lowering blood pressure
A Simple Mindfulness Practice
One of the simplest mindfulness practices is mindful breathing. You can do this anywhere, anytime, with or without your eyes closed. Simply:
- Notice your breath
- Consciously breathe in and out slowly, on a three or four count (whichever is more comfortable to you). So breathe in, 2, 3, 4, breathe out 2, 3, 4.
- If you can, notice how you're feeling without any judgment. You can also notice your environment and appreciate something you notice.
This is great for when you're waiting for coffee to get ready, or you hit a red light, or a friend is running late to meet you, etc. It helps you turn this little pocket of time into something wonderful, and your gratitude and calm will grow.
Mindfulness Books for Kids
We're excited to be deep in development for our CAMP book, which will share a creative and mindfulness practice through storytelling. As part of our development, we've looked into as many illustrated books about mindfulness as we can find. We decided to start an ongoing list of our top recommendations for the best mindfulness books for kids: