Mindfulness in preschool
A new initiative in Miami, Florida, is assessing how mindfulness in families might cultivate resilience and reduce domestic violence. The pilot program is headed by Scott Rogers, a mindfulness teacher and director of Miami Law’s Mindfulness in Law Program. Rogers has developed mindfulness exercises to be integrated into an Early Head Start educational setting, where preschool teachers, parents, and young children can learn about and practice mindfulness together—in the classroom as well as at home. Each session includes creative games and draws upon elements of nature to help children learn the basics, such as paying attention to their bodies and breath. Rogers is launching the pilot in collaboration with Maria Riestra, Director of Head Start; Lucia Davis-Raiford, Director of Miami-Dade County’s Community Action and Human Services Department; and Judge Carroll Kelly, Administrative Judge of the Domestic Violence Division of the Miami-Dade County Courts. They believe it’s important that the tools for developing mindful awareness be contextualized and made accessible for parents and children to practice together. If mindfulness is nurtured by parents from early childhood, this capacity may foster greater resilience within families. “We want to provide opportunities for parents to see more clearly what happens during challenging moments,” Rogers says, “and to perhaps be less reactive in those moments.”
Each session includes creative games and draws upon elements of nature to help children learn the basics, such as paying attention to their bodies and breath.
Interested in exploring mindfulness with your kids? Scott Rogers shares a four-minute “Be Like Nature” mindfulness practice
Drink less with mindfulness
Even short sessions of mindfulness meditation may help heavy drinkers imbibe less, according to a team of University College London psychologists that compared mindfulness to simple relaxation.
A group of 68 women, who drank an average of 26 units of alcohol a week (14 units is the maximum recommended weekly amount), learned either an 11-minute mindfulness practice—simply noticing cravings, without acting on them—or a relaxation exercise. They were asked to practice their intervention daily for 15 minutes but were not monitored.
One week later, the mindfulness group—who practiced 3-4 times for 8-9 minutes—reported drinking 9.3 fewer units of alcohol. There was no significant difference among those doing the relaxation exercise.
As the researchers concluded, these findings “suggest that even ‘ultra-brief’ experiences with mindfulness can have measurable and potentially clinically meaningful effects.”
Ever wished for an emoji to express your love of mindfulness? Now you can! The Unicode Consortium, the standard-bearer of emojis, has added icons of people in lotus pose, a traditional posture used for meditation, to its library, which is used by platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.
These articles also appeared in the December 2017 issue of Mindful magazine. Read more news and current mindfulness research in the February 2018 issue of Mindful magazine, on newsstands now.