Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why mindfulness is necessary for Indian Children

Mindfulness is the talking point all over the world in the last few years. It's benefits to all age groups have been thoroughly researched since last 30 years . probably this is the reason big corporates companies like Google, Twitter, Intel, Aetna, Target  are training their employees. Most of the universities and schools globally have introduced mindfulness programs mainly Oxford University, Stanford University etc. What started as a stress Clinic by John Korbat Zin has become a revolution in today's fast moving world. The results in children have taken the world by surprise specially in remarkable increase in focus and concentration.
        "Rahul behave yourself. Is this the way you talk to your friends" or "You are not concentrating on your studies, that is the reason you get less marks".These are the most common discussion in most of the households in major metro cities . Today the most talked about topic in India is Digitalisation and Globalization. India is talking about 4g network and high speed internet. Internet was first accessible only on the computer, then on laptop and going further on tablet. Today is the world where we are talking about high end smart phones with powerful processors.
           So a lot information is continuously fed in our mind from the print as well as social media. This information is also available to young children who are at their developmental stage. In a study it  has shown that kids playing games on phone have developed stronger analytical skills but the socioemotional learning suffers a great deal. This is why see more aggressive behavior by most of the kids.
            Also the distraction from most of the learning activities is a common problem in most of the school going kids. Morality and religion have a strong foundation in India and is the only way parents can make their kids realize their mistakes. The high exposure to the media can at times make it difficult for today's generation to understand this. Most of the parents and teachers will agree the conventional disciplining  doesn't work with most of the kids now days.
        The basic neuroscience behind mindfulness has been extensively researched and it is found the prefrontal lobe in the brain in human child actually develops by the age of 18-20 years. This prefrontal lobe is the one responsible for regulation of our thoughts. So in school going children the emotional instability like anger, ADHD and impulsive behaviour are unchecked, hence at times children do not listen to the elders. Humans are the only mammals who have to depend on the guidance of the elders for such a long time.So there is a need to intervene and impart skills to the kids specially to deal with behavioral issues and skills of focus, Concentration, conflict resolution etc .
Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening now. Another way to describe it is to  consciously bring our attention to the present moment .It can be practiced anywhere unlike meditation where you need a particular place and posture. It can also be described as "a skill beyond meditation" . Since mindfulness is secular, it does not interfere with anyone's religious beliefs. Also basic morality for man kind like gratitude, compassion and empathy  should be taught to modern day children.
There has been extensive research done  all over the world on its effect on young minds. The results beyond doubt has showed marked improvement in focus, Concentration, conflict resolution and emotional stability in all age groups. Most remarkable findings are improvement in their self esteem and decision making abilities.
Kids are less insecure and are more aware of their emotions.
Mindfulness gives them the freedom of choice to refuse or accept the situation which is best suited to them.Every child deserves the choice to choose his reaction before any conflict so he can respond with confidence.
   

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

'Ego' My oldest friend vs Mindfulness

​We all believe that when we were born,  we were born without any self ego. Then as we grew up this 'ego' named friend came with us. It would stay with us when we were happy, when we got good grades but we needed it the most in our failures .It would really defend us from all the negativity and criticism. It was one of the oldest and best friend which the world gifted us. 
It would be interesting to know how ego has developed as we grew up. Ego has subconsciously being used by one and  all at times to discipline us and some times to encourage us to overcome our limitations  . "Why are you crying like a girl, boys don't cry"or" "You are now 10 years old you should not behave like a child".Many times our teachers  have told us you you need to do better  than the other class  or batch or this class is the worst class. So we have learnt to live with this ego which helped us to overcome many of our difficulties and challenges as we grew up. We never realized how much we let it rule our lives. 
Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening now. Another way to describe it is to  consciously bring our attention to the present moment. Our friend ego also has a major role to play when we strive to be mindful. 
Let's see how.... Arjuna used to meditate everyday for 30 mins. Yesterday he had a terrible fight with his wife and he was very upset. He got up in the morning  and tried to meditate but he was too disturbed. He had recently gone for MBSR retreat and he decided to be mindful about his negative emotions. But he was finding it extremely hard as he was worried how his wife will react when he comes back home? Whether she will forgive him for coming late and forgetting her birthday.
Throughout the day Arjuna was surprised how hard he was finding it to calm down and focus on his work. He felt whatever he learnt in the last 2 months was not working . He tried to be aware of the raging mind but he was not able to focus his attention. May be he had not learnt it properly. He was extremely disappointed and depressed and this simply added on to his problems.  
 This is one of the situation people come across during  the practice of mindfulness. There are moments we feel that  we are "failing" or unhappy that we are unable to be mindful. This  is being very hard on our self  and  being judgmental about our practice.
The only thing active when we judge ourself specially when we are emotionally disturbed or under stress is the "Ego" which makes us Judgemental about the success or failure of our practice. Everyone who practices mindfulness have had difficulty in getting back the 'rhythm' and it is  quite normal.We all strive to be in rhythm most the times in the day but being out of rhythm is also a part of being mindful 
Mindfulness is about being at ease with all the positive and negative emotions.Accepting that there are many situations and events not in our control and they are bound to create enough turmoil in our mind. This will make our mind  go out of rhythm. It is the nature of the mind to wander and be mindless. 
Say for instance in a fit of rage, We may have said something nasty to a friend. Rather than being angry or upset about why we said those words and failed to be mindful of the  aggression,it is more important to be compassionate to our mind which had to go through this turmoil.Of course the next thing would be to correct what we did wrong. But  if we judge our self,  which is the normal tendency it will make it more difficult for us to realize our mistake and be mindful about the raging emotions in our mind. 
We need to be more compassionate to our self and our mind which has to go through this every day.Mindfulness without self-compassion is incomplete.This  will make it easier for us to get our focus back and be mindful with our dear friend "Ego". 

5th January 2050: A Visit to An AI (Artificial Intelligent) Doctor With Mitron

Rex had just come back from a vacation to earth’s moon a couple of days back. He had already been intimated by his personal assistant “ ...