The more I read about the benefits of meditation, the more I think that it should be a must for black children. Our children have to deal with the stressors of living in a racist society in addition to the typical challenges of childhood, both of which have physical and psychological effects. The physical effects are well-documented, black children with normal BMIs have higher blood pressure levels than nonblack children, and as adults, are more prone to developing hypertension than nonblacks. The psychological effects of racism on our children is also a reason for concern. According to researchers, racism can make black children depressed, unhappy and unproductive:
A report in Social Science & Medicine says that young people who experience racism or racist treatment are more likely to struggle with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety as both children and later as teens. The report’s lead researcher, Naomi Priest, of the University of Melbourne in Australia stated that, “The review showed there are strong and consistent relationships between racial discrimination and a range of detrimental health outcomes such as low self-esteem, reduced resilience, increased behavior problems and lower levels of well-being.”
The benefits of meditation
Studies consistently find that meditation reduces stress, prevent heart attacks, and can slow the aging of the brain, and its benefits go beyond the body. One study showed that after just four days of meditating, participants assigned to the meditation group showed improved performance on timed cognitive tests. Another study found that college students who meditated for only six minutes before a lecture achieved higher grades, and showed improved retention, and focus. As a mom, the research on young kids is even more encouraging:
A University of California, Los Angeles study found second- and third-graders who practiced “mindful” meditation techniques for 30 minutes twice a week for eight weeks had improved behavior and scored higher on tests requiring memory, attention and focus than the nonmeditators.
A study of more than 3,000 children in the San Francisco Unified School District found a dramatic improvement in math test scores and overall academic performance among students who practiced transcendental meditation, a form of mediation that promotes relaxation and “an awakening” of the mind. The study also found a decrease in student suspensions, expulsions and dropout rates.
Other recent studies have demonstrated the ability of “mindfulness” techniques, especially those used in meditation, yoga, and tai chi, to reduce impulsiveness, control emotions, and ease stress. More….
When we teach our kids to meditate, we give them a powerful tool that they will carry their entire lives. A tool that will promote emotional, psychological, and physiological well being. Mindful meditation in particular, has become increasingly popular because it is easily accessible. So what is mindful meditation?
Mindfulness is simply an awareness of what is happening in the moment, observing your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Mindful meditation often involves sitting in a quiet space while focusing on your physical, physiological and/or emotional state. Although it is not necessary to use any particular tools, many people find that music and/or guided instructions are helpful during this process. Whether you are a novice or seasoned practitioner a number of free mindfulness meditations can be found online.More…..
Free meditation resources
There are a lot of free meditation resources on the internet but be sure to use the keywords “mindful meditation for children” to find suggestions that are kid-friendly. This site in particular has some neat meditations that kids will enjoy.
Have a zen day!