Changing Education with Meditation and Mindfulness

I’m looking to change the education system in order that kids benefit from meditation – every day.

The very fact you are reading this blog suggests that you are interested in…

a/teaching your children meditationchanging education with meditation

b/teaching other people’s children meditation

… and you want this world to be a better place for children in the future when we are ‘not around’ any more.

The growing body of research suggests that there are valid and economic reasons for children and young people to meditate regularly.

Let  me explain.

Reducing the Mental Health Bill

“One in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and the cost of mental ill health to the economy, NHS and society is £105bn a year(NHS England).

“In a report published in 2006 we estimated that the total cost of mental health problems in Scotland in 2004/05 amounted to £8.6 billion. A straightforward updating of this estimate to 2009/10 indicates that the aggregate cost has increased by nearly a quarter, to £10.7 billion.” SAMH

Meditation is a more cost effective way to empower young people with skills that help them manage their stress levels and improve mental health and wellbeing.  Thus reducing this financial drain on health care.

“Mindfulness meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.” Harvard Medical School

Reducing the Economic Cost to Society

“Every year 140 million working days are lost to sickness absence, much of which ends in a swift return to work. However, a significant number of absences last longer than they need to and each year over 300,000 people fall out of work onto health-related state benefits.” ‘Health at work – an independent review of sickness absence’. UK Government November 2011

The staggering number of sick days touches many professions and yet we don’t educate children in self care or recognising stress (and what to do about it) until adulthood.

“When you taste this stuff, it has profound effects,” Mr. Kabat-Zinn said. “That’s why it has lasted 2,600-plus years. It’s not just some silly quaint thing they used to do in Asia because they had nothing better to do. It’s a way to stay healthy.”  Washington Post

Research shows that regular meditation practise relaxes the part of the brain involved in survival and part of the acute stress response (keeping a human alive). Meditation helps teaches us and our children how to cope with change and stress in a healthier way.

Reducing Crime Rates

“It has been estimated that children with early conduct disorder are 10 times more costly to the public sector by the age of 28 than other children (Scott et al.,2001) and impose lifetime costs on society as a whole of around £260,000 per child (Parsonage et al., 2014). Costs relating to crime are the biggest single component, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total.” The Pursuit of Happiness: A New Ambition for Our Mental Health, Centre Forum July 2014

“Violent crime costs the UK economy more than £124 billion a year, equivalent to £4,700 for every household, a study out today has revealed. The figure, which equates to 7.7 per cent of the UK’s GDP, includes the cost of police investigations, courts and prison expenditure as well as a vast amount in lost productivity.” The Telegraph, UK

Meditation aids emotional intelligence, self regulation and brain development; it helps young people to learn coping strategies that provide an antidote to the stress of modern day living of food additives, excessive use of technology and lifestyle that stimulate the stress response.

If our children can become adults who have the ability to develop these mindful abilities then we can potentially reduce crime – saving up to £124 billion a year.

Increasing confidence and creativity – our future entrepreneurs and workforce

Meditation supports right and left brain thinking.  What this means in real terms is that young people can access and develop new, ethical solutions to problems or unexpected change.  As their solution making skills improve, their confidence increases – more young people working, paying taxes and expenditure supports the economy with a confident, happy society.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Our Mindful Vision

Reduced crime and war, healthier and compassionate societies and confident, creative employees is a long term vision we have through our work in teaching children meditation.

Meanwhile to reach this we must consider changing our education system to incorporate meditation on a regular basis so that it is accessible for all to make these changes happen.

Once young people learn this life skill – it is with them for life and it is free! 

Once a child learns how to meditate they don’t need you or me or any special equipment.  They just need to notice the breath,  acknowledge the signals of stress from their body and engage their imagination in a meaningful, compassionate and peaceful way to accept and release.

So where  do we begin?

Below are a few ideas – some practical steps to help you get started in changing the world… one step at a time.

Remember we are doing this together. It is a collective movement that will change the consciousness, mental health and well-being of the world – but individually we must take the first  step.

Plant seeds – speak to people about meditation – demystify it from the spiritual practice (which it can be) to something all can access by simply noticing their breath to reduce stress.

Write to your leaders – contact your local counsellors and politicians about the facts and research of how meditation can benefit the community, society and the economy. Join our campaign below and we’ll send you a template!

Sign a petition or start one! One of our Connected Kids trainers, Heather Mackenzie, has started one through Change.org to lobby our leaders on change.  Join this (for Scotland) or start one for your own country!

Join an online community – of like minded people who have the same mission and wish to share information.  UBERU supports this (with particular focus on autism) and Calm Kids is on online group sharing ideas and good practice.

Meditate!  – well if we don’t practise regularly why should kids?  Meditation can show you how to cope with stress or change and feel more balanced.  Plus it can give you access to solutions to problems that feel too big to overcome when we ‘think’ about them logically.  Meditation opens up the creative mind.

(Plus it helps us embody what we want to teach our children and teens).

Join our ‘Change Education Campaign’ – join our mailing list and we’ll send you a full list of tips and ideas on how you can help be part of the change and bring meditation into our education systems to benefit teachers, staff and the young people of the future.  Join the CE Campaign >>>

 

(Congressman Tim Ryan, Author of ‘A Mindful Nation‘ on why we should learn mindfulness and teach young people.)

 

 

 

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