"The new ABCs" Attention, Balance, Clarity and Compassion.

In today's climate of children being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD for not being able to pay attention, the skills acquired through mindfulness practice can be critical for a child's success. For more information on how ADD/ADHD is diagnosed and why boys are more likely to be diagnosed and to struggle in school click here.

What Is Mindfulness?

Several common definitions for mindfulness exist. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as "paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally." From another perspective, mindfulness is the process of "bringing one's complete attention to the present Effective mindfulness programs include breathing practices, awareness of emotion practices, an awareness of sound practice, a loving-kindness practice, brief yoga or qi-gong and a body scan.

Integration of classroom discussion about applications for mindfulness in daily life complements this practice.

Why Teach Mindfulness?

By participating in awareness-based stress reduction programs [mindfulness programs], youth:

  • Learn positive ways of responding to stress other than repression or acting out.
  • Learn how to respond rather than react to difficult events.
  • Find calm and clarity through positive techniques rather than through drugs.
  • Gain clarity of mind so that more conscious choices can be made while learning to understand the consequences of actions.
  • Gain a better understanding of the mind and body through awareness-based classes that help youth live healthier lives.
  • Learn their new "ABC's" - attention, balance, clarity and compassion.

How Does Light Way Teach Mindfulness?

Effective mindfulness programs include the following activities all of which bring us into the present moment:

  • Breathing practices
  • Awareness of emotion practice
  • An awareness of sound practice
  • A loving-kindness practice
  • Brief yoga or Qi Gong experience on a "moment-to-moment" basis.
  • Body scan.

Integration of classroom discussion about applications for mindfulness in daily life complements this practice. Recorded meditations for each of the above elements can be found at: http://www.marc.ucla.edu.

Compassionate Communication

  • Blame ourselves: We can accept the other person's judgment and blame ourselves. "Oh, I should be more considerate!" It's easy to take blame to avoid further conflict, but this is at the expense of our self-esteem. It brings on feelings of guilt, shame and depression. No light shining here!
  • Blame others: We fault the speaker. "What? Selfish? How about you? I always try to think of you first." This answer can increase anger in both the speaker and listener. The conflict is likely to accelerate. No light here either.
  • Sense our own feelings and needs: "When I hear you say that I am selfish, I am confused, because I need more information about why you called me that." By focusing on our own feelings we open the door to a richer conversation. It's beginning to shine.
  • Sense another's feelings and needs: "Are you feeling frustrated because you want more consideration of your needs?"