“The Christmas Quiet Book” by Deborah Underwood & Renata Liwska

November 27, 2013
The Christmas Quiet Book is available from Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.
The Christmas Quiet Book is available from Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.
Shhhhh!! Let’s be very quiet while we review author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska’s The Christmas Quiet Book.

Are you sitting comfortably? Have you silenced all the alarms on your computer and phone? Have you closed all other windows or switched your browser to full screen mode? Have you taken three full breaths, closed your eyes, and spent a few minutes quietly listening to the world around you? No? OK, go do that now…

I adore Ms. Underwood’s books. So does my six-year-old daughter and, to a lesser extent, my four-year-old son. My wife’s a big fan, too. Underwood writes a lot … Read more »

“Room to Breathe” — A documentary film about mindfulness in a troubled middle school

September 21, 2013

room to breathe dvdRoom to Breathe is a documentary about teaching mindfulness to students of the troubled Marina Middle School in San Francisco, which tops its district for disciplinary suspensions, and has overcrowded classrooms creating an environment in which it’s almost impossible for learning to take place. As assistant principal Anthony Braxton explains near the opening of the film, a significant number of students at Marina “don’t do school” — they don’t see school as being for them.

In the class of Seventh Grade teacher Tom Ehnle, we see kids who are unable to stay on task or to pay attention. They seem to be in a constant state of fidgeting, wrestling with each other, carrying on side-conversations, … Read more »

Cookie Monster: “Me practice mindfulness!”

September 16, 2013

cookie monsterWell, Cookie Monster doesn’t quite say that, but he comes close. In this Sesame Street video promoting self-control (which psychologists call “executive function” these days) he says:

When me lose control, when me have no doubt
Me have strategies, that can calm me down
Me can talk to self, me can stand up straight
Me can take deep breath, me can self-regulate!

And also:

When me lose control, when me on the brink,
Need to just calm down, me need to stop and think
Me need control me self, yeah that’s the way to live
And then me functioning, like an executive.

Check out Cookie Monster’s excellent message, which is as applicable to many adults … Read more »

Seven ways to teach your children mindfulness

September 11, 2013

child meditatingHere are seven practices that you can do with young children, to help bring mindfulness into your home.

  1. Just before leaving for school in the morning, stand together and take three mindful breaths.
  2. When your child comes home from school, give him or her a piece of fruit and ask them to pretend they are from another planet and have never seen this piece of fruit before. Ask them to describe their experience using all five senses. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? Taste like? Does it make a sound when they bite it?
  3. Take three mindful breaths as a family before eating and try to begin the meal mindfully.
  4. Go for
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Mindfulness training improves attention in children

September 10, 2013

British Psychological Society: A short training course in mindfulness improves children’s ability to ignore distractions and concentrate better.

These are the findings of a study carried out by Dominic Crehan and Dr Michelle Ellefson at the University of Cambridge being presented today, 6 September 2013, at the British Psychological Society’s Cognitive Developmental Psychology Annual Conference at the University of Reading.

Dominic explained: “Mindfulness involves paying attention in a particular way – on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. It has been shown to reduce levels of stress and depression, and to improve feelings of well-being, but to date researchers have not established…

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“No Ordinary Apple,” by Sara Marlowe and Philip Pascuzzo

September 3, 2013

no ordinary apple

Title: No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully
Author: Sara Marlowe, Philip Pascuzzo (illus.)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
ISBN: 1-61429-076-8
Available from: Wisdom Publications, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com.

No Ordinary Apple is a variation on the famous “raisin exercise” that’s so popular in meditation classes. (If you’re not familiar with the raisin exercise it’s where we mindfully eat a single raisin, thoroughly exploring it with our senses.) But No Ordinary Apple is, of course, a children’s book — and a very welcome addition to the growing body of meditation resources for children.

The fruit is question is an apple rather than a raisin and the mindful eater … Read more »

Equanimity is love — even-minded love (Day 78)

June 29, 2013

100 Days of LovingkindnessIt’s easy to forget that upekkha, or equanimity, is love. The word “equanimity” doesn’t sound very loving. It’s coldly Latinate, lofty, and remote, and doesn’t roll off the tongue easily. Few of us are likely to use the word in everyday conversation. The adjective, equanimous, is even worse! Even the Anglo-Saxon equivalents, “even-minded” and “even-mindedness,” don’t convey any sense of love, or kindness, either. But upekkha is a form of love.

The word in Pali or Sanskrit is from a root īkṣ, which means “to look upon,” along with a prefix upa-, which can mean many things, but which almost always connotes a sense of closeness, as in upaṭṭhāna (attending) and upakiṇṇa (covered … Read more »

How mindfulness training helps school kids relieve stress

June 21, 2013

Rick Nauert, Ph.D., PsychCentral: A new study suggests a particular type of mental training can help to reduce stress and depression among school age children.

UK researchers found that mindfulness training, a technique that develops sustained attention that can change the ways people think, act and feel, is an effective method to promote wellness in school kids.

Mindfulness is a technique gaining popularity among adults for enhancing health and well-being. However, very few controlled trials have evaluated their effectiveness among young people.

School is ending for many school kids, a time of high stress as children prepare to take final examinations and other qualifying tests.,,

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Meditation reduces the risk of depression in schoolchildren

June 20, 2013

Emma Innes, Mail Online: Children who are taught meditation are less likely to develop depression, a new study has revealed.

Teaching children a form of meditation called ‘mindfulness’ – a psychological technique which focuses awareness and attention – can reduce a pupil’s stress levels meaning their mental health improves.

The technique can also improve their academic performance, the researchers found.

Scientists at the University of Exeter, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), taught 256 pupils aged between 12 and 16 the MiSP curriculum.

The curriculum involved teaching the children nine lessons in how to better control their…

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The power of appreciative words: “Mishan’s Garden,” by James Vollbracht & Janet Brooke

June 15, 2013

Mishans-Garden“The greatest gift you can ever give another is to see what is best and unique about them.”

This morning I stumbled downstairs, bleary-eyed, having got home late after teaching a class the night before. My six-year-old daughter gave me a running hug and a huge smile. She’s naturally affectionate, but I suspect there was an ulterior motive, because a few seconds later she came running back to me with Mishan’s Garden in her hands, asking that I read it to her. And so, I did.

Mishan is the titular heroine, a young girl who lives in The Village Above the White Clouds, where her father is the innkeeper. Misha is a special girl, whose … Read more »