Teachers of meditation and spiritual things tell us that what we are discovering is our "true nature"- ie we are, once we put our often inaccurate stories about ourselves, life and how things or people "ought" to be aside, in touch with a serenity and strength that is always within us. The busyness and stress of life causes us to lose touch with this. For so many people this, combined with very real stressful life events, can push them into distress or mental un-wellness.
It makes sense to me that children are more in tune with their innate nature and inner selves than us grown-ups. Children are naturally freer in spirit and enthusiasm for life. They are also more open to accepting new ideas. And because of this many advocates of teaching meditation are coming up with ideas of how to teach meditation and relaxation to all children in a safe and natural way. Why? Because acquiring the skills of self-compassion, calming, de-stressing early on can give them insights and understanding into themselves, their personal limits and needs that will stand them in good stead when they reach adolescence, early adulthood and beyond. It can also promote the idea that being in touch with feelings and talking about emotions and how you are is okay and good, and contributes to reducing the stigma, ignorance and fear in the adult world around mental health problems
So helping our children learn about human emotions, feelings and mental states - their own and other people's - can only be a good thing.
|Copyright Corrine Bitler|
Using stories, especially interactive stories, is one good way of introducing even quite young children to thinking about how they feel, relaxation and emotions that we all have. Stories that show characters finding their way through upsets or difficulties can help them absorb ideas and begin to think in more helpful ways - or even be willing to talk and share about anything difficult or upsetting going on in their own real lives.
I'm an advocate of "Story Therapy". This is where stories become a gateway for exploring thoughts, feelings and emotions and finding different and new ways of seeing things that can be taken from the stories and used in real life. Some can also be used with children as a starting point for finding a quiet space for relaxing, pausing and enjoying the benefits of sometimes... just being.
Story Therapy - Click here!
(And The Friendship Adventure project for schools and children's groups, promoting friendship, inclusion, understanding ourselves and others. Click here!)