All of us have minds that are constantly active. Our minds work hard to allow us to manage tasks and priorities in our
work, home and social lives. For many of us, it can sometimes feel like our minds are racing to keep up with demands,
which can feel stressful or overwhelming.
Mindfulness is a practice aimed at stilling your active mind. Just as it is important to rest our bodies after activity, our
minds also need rest in order to function at their best. Mindfulness is about training yourself to pay complete attention
to the present moment, without being distracted by thoughts about the past or future. It involves an attitude of
acceptance rather than judgement about what is taking place internally (such as emotions and sensations) or
externally (such as sights, sounds and smells).
Mindfulness is about being more aware as you live and experience each moment – as the moment happens. It can
help with how you cope with everyday life or deal with particularly tough times, and it has been shown to be beneficial
in a variety of ways.
The Health Benefits of Mindfulness
Considerable research on mindfulness mediation has demonstrated that regular practice can have a significantly
positive impact on many aspects of our health and wellbeing. There is extensive evidence to suggest that mindfulness
can:

  • Help to relieve stress.
  • Help to improve sleep.
  • Help manage depression and/or anxiety.
  • Help you to be less angry or moody.
  • Improve memory.
  • Help you learn more easily.
  • Help you to solve problems more easily.
  • Make you happier.
  • Help you to be more emotionally stable.
  • Improve your breathing.
  • Reduce your heart rate.
  • Improve your circulation.
  • Improve your immunity.
  • Help you to cope with pain.

 

Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is something that everyone can develop, and that people of all ages can try. It has been practiced for
thousands of years, with origins in Eastern philosophy, and over the past 40 years it has become a more common
practice in Western societies.
People can increase their mindfulness in everyday life, through activities like meditation and yoga, or simply by paying
more attention during regular activities like eating, walking, driving or something as basic as brushing your teeth.
Mindfulness meditation is a highly focused type of mindfulness that combines meditation, breathing techniques and
paying attention to the present moment to help you notice the way you think, feel and act. You can do mindfulness
meditation with an instructor, or you can use a guided mindfulness meditation app or CD.

Encouraging Your Teenager to Build Mindfulness
Encouraging your son to be in the here and now can give him skills to deal with the stress of study, work and play
as he gets older. There are many ways to model and encourage the regular practice of mindful awareness with your
children, or incorporate mindfulness into your family activities. For example:

  • Regular use of a mindfulness app, such as Smiling Mind, can provide the whole family with easy-to-use meditation
    programs aimed at building skills in mindfulness.
  • Colouring in is a great way to become focused on a task. There are many ‘adult colouring books’ available now that
    are specifically designed for older users, and can be a relaxing activity that the whole family can do together.
  • Listening to music and focusing on the instruments or lyrics is a great way to focus on the present without
    distraction.
  • Taking photographs or drawing something interesting or beautiful – like an insect or sunset – can encourage your
    son to look closely at details.

Additional Resources
For the SmilingMind App and links to other programs and information about mindfulness, visit https://smilingmind.com.au/.
For further mindfulness techniques and exercises to practice, you can download the ‘Mindfulness in Everyday Life’
factsheet, put together by the Black Dog Institute, at https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/factsheets/mindfulnessineverdaylife.pdf?sfvrsn=6.
For more information on encouraging mindfulness with children and teenagers, visit http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/mindfulness.html.

If you would like to discuss any of this information, or a specific concerns, please contact Mrs Tracey Ashton, Head
of Counselling Services on 9756 3158.

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The Counselling Team