Guest blog post by Jude Brown
Being busy is, at times, unavoidable. Family, work, friends, eating, shopping, cleaning to name a few of the daily tasks we need to squeeze into the hours before we can finally sleep and hopefully ‘switch off.’
Two years ago I began to look for space within this ‘busyness’ and this arrived in the form of mindfulness. A modern day meditation practice which allows us to stop, be present and create the emotional and mental space we all deserve.
Initially, I used mindfulness to literally just stop and I found that by practising simple mindfulness techniques for a few minutes, several times a day, I begun to relieve some of the pressures of the never-ending to do list. But now mindfulness is becoming much more than just a ‘pause’ button. Its simple strength comes through regular practice and has changed the way I view life, its pressures, people; even the way I eat and walk!
Following training, I used my personal experience and teaching skill to introduce mindfulness into schools. I wanted children to understand its benefits and to realise that once learnt, it was a tool for life. It was during a search for resources I came across Smiling Mind and once I started using it, realised its potential it not only teaching children Mindfulness but also supporting and developing the knowledge and skills of adults who work with children.
Smiling Mind is a web and App-based program developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy, mindfulness meditation and web-based wellness programs. Having launched three years ago, the app has been downloaded over 1 million times and is now used by over 9000 schools in Australia.
In recent years’ mindfulness meditation has risen in popularity for use in the treatment of anxiety, depression, stress and other physical and mental illnesses.
Well respected institutions such as UCLA, Harvard, Oxford, Monash and Melbourne Universities have developed clinical studies into the positive impacts of mindfulness meditation.
“The world needs mindfulness and in this fast-paced, stressed and distracted world, the children of today probably need it more than any previous generation," said Dr. Craig Hassad, Smiling Mind ambassador.
"Smiling Mind is taking Mindfulness Meditation to where it is needed most -- into the hearts and minds of young people. It’s more than just a technique, and more than just a life-skill. Mindfulness is a way of life." Co-founder Jane Martino agrees. “Our vision is for mindfulness meditation to be on the curriculum by 2020."
Smiling Mind offers a preventative tool to support mental health, increase the ability to focus, and pay attention to the present. When you consider that the average office worker check their email 30 times every hour, and that the typical mobile phone user checks their phones more than 150 times per day, learning how to be in the present is imperative.
“Smiling Mind took something which was a bit fringe -- meditation -- and packaged it in a way that used technology far more effectively," said James Tutton, Co-founder of Smiling Mind. Smiling Mind is free to download and is now pleased to announce that Professional Development Workshops are available in the UK from 2016. The workshop will be supported by the “5-week Smiling Mind Adult Meditation Challenge". Staff will be supported by a weekly online training program. This involves interesting information sent out each week, to support their knowledge of the subject. It includes reminders and tips, links to articles and interesting research, visuals and quotes.
More information can be found by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org