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In a recent episode of Good Change Conversations, Kristy spoke with mindfulness coach John Fletcher about the benefits of mindfulness. John has helped adults and children the world over and wants to share his knowledge and the simplicity of how to become more mindful in this busy and fast-paced world.
They talked about how our minds have a negativity bias, meaning we are naturally more drawn to negative thoughts and emotions. We can learn to counter this by practicing mindfulness and focusing on positive experiences, meaning we can rewire our brains to be more attuned to happiness and gratitude. A quote from John:
'Well, I like to think of it as the difficult, nasty stuff is more like Velcro. It's kind of sticky, and our minds tend to stick to that and go to that. Whereas the nicest stuff, the happiest stuff, it's more like Teflon and our minds slide off more easily.'
John has worked with schools to teach children how to pay attention to the present moment and recognise when they are feeling anxious or upset. John has worked with Pause, Breathe, Smile to help teachers and staff at schools learn to practice mindfulness, which sets a positive example for the children and creates a more mindful school culture. Mindfulness is most effective for kids when it is embedded in the everyday life of the school community.
We got so much out of this convo with John! We think you will too, listen here
Here are five of our favourite take aways for fostering mindfulness in your home:
1) Practise noticing positive emotions and sensations
Practice gratitude by noticing and appreciating positive experiences. When you're feeling good you can press into your little finger and focus on the feeling. This is a useful trick to enable you to recall positive experiences in the future, just press your little finger and it will take you back!
2) Start with the physical sensations
A great way to start mindfulness practise is to notice physical sensations, this is especially good for children. Encourage your child (or yourself!) to focus on the physical sensations of their body, such as the feeling of their feet on the ground or the sensation of the breath moving in and out.
3) Take the time to stop and connect with the present moment
Allow yourself to physically, mentally, and emotionally feel what's happening in your body and surroundings. People think of mindfulness as 'being Zen' which they take to mean zoning out or transcending their surroundings, which is not at all the case! Mindfulness is about fostering a deeper connection to what is happening right here, right now, even if those sensations or feelings aren't pleasant. Stopping and checking in with yourself and your kids is a great way to encourage them (and yourself!) to notice what's happening inside and around them.
4) Thoughts are real, but not true
Remember that the majority of our thoughts are just random noise, so don't believe or pay attention to every single thought that comes to mind. Some thoughts can be useful, but we're inclined to take most of them far too seriously! I
5) Lead by example
Create a culture of mindfulness at home by practicing it yourself and encouraging your child to participate in mindfulness exercises with you. The biggest encouragement you can give is by engaging in a practise yourself and becoming an example of how to embody mindfulness.
It's quite amazing that through a simple practice of mindfulness and paying attention to positive experiences, we can rewire our brains to be more attuned to happiness and gratitude.
John Fletcher's work with schools has shown that embedding mindfulness into the everyday life of the school community can create a more mindful culture that benefits everyone involved. We can all learn to take the time to stop, connect with the present moment, and appreciate positive experiences, and that can be enough to shift the dial on our mental health and create a profoundly positive impact on our lives.
Good Change conversations with Kristy Hunter and Stine Smith is a seasonal podcast dedicated to equipping you with practical advice to do small, but good changes.
In each episode we interview people making good changes, who are experts in their field. If you are looking to make small changes, Stine & Kristy will give you the inspiration and action plan to do this, today.