Mindfulness has become a part of a much larger picture in the recent past. It’s not just meant for the Monks, Yogis, and those on a spiritual path, anymore. Scientific research has shown that practicing mindfulness is a great tool for success and can and should be taught from a very young age. Schools worldwide are slowly, but surely, implementing this practice within their curriculum.
Mindfulness, as the word suggests, is our minds state when it is fully absorbing everything that is going on around it. It is present within the present and attentive to what you’re doing, the space you’re moving through, the sounds you’re hearing. According to our friends the Mindful Staff, it can be explained as, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of what we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
This may seem trivial and it may seem too many of you that we’re always attentive to what’s happening around us otherwise how would we function in our day today? The truth is, many times we function on what is known as ‘autopilot’, where we go on about our day doing what we know we must while our minds are distracted, wandering, and daydreaming, never taking into real consideration what it is that we’re ACTUALLY doing or taking a minute to just be aware of the beauty that may surround us.
Well, it’s time that we give mindfulness a serious look! Scientists have now proven the amazing impact that mindfulness can have on our intelligence – and not just the cognitive kind, but also the emotional and social kind too! Basically, mindfulness has proven to nurture us into becoming well rounded human beings.
When talking about intelligence, it can be classified as two types; Crystallized and Fluid. Crystallized intelligence is your ability to use skills, information, and experiences that you’ve already acquired, also known as Cerebral Knowledge. Whereas Fluid Intelligence is your ability to identify patterns, solve everyday problems, use logic, etc. – it is basically your ability to be creative and innovative over how much you know. In order to improve Crystallized Intelligence, you can read, collect more facts, learn, but Fluid Intelligence requires something, a little different. You guessed right! Studies have shown that meditation or mindfulness can dramatically improve your Fluid as well as overall intelligence.
Mindfulness can now not only enhance your physiological health, but according to Siegfried Othmer, former President of the Neurofeedback Division of the Association for Applied Psychology and Biofeedback. He conducted research on participants using brainwave training (a specific form of meditation) which indicated that those who meditated showed an average gain of 23% in IQ. Not only that – the results were proven to be long-lasting, and showed significant gains in creativity, concentration and self-awareness!
Do the intelligent thing – practice MINDFULNESS!
We hear a lot nowadays, about emotional management, but what does that mean? People tend to have different theories about what managing one’s emotions entail. We can say this for sure, that it has nothing to do with ‘controlling’ the emotions. A lot of times when we think about ‘controlling’ we think about holding back on our emotions and truth be told, or well if research be told, that is never a healthy option, for children or adults.
Before we learn to manage emotions, we must learn, and help our children to learn, to first understand what emotions are, to identify them, and know that others have them too. It helps to take a moment, stop, and address a few questions; ‘How am I feeling?’, ‘What made me feel this way?’, ‘What can I do about it?’ or ‘What do I want to do about it?’. This will help provide some clarity about whether the emotions are stemming from an external or internal factor. That will further help how one should cope with the emotion in a healthy manner.
According to Paul Ekman, we can successfully identify the six basic emotions; Happy, Anger, Sad, Fear, Disgust, and Surprise. It’s very natural to feel these emotions, however, at times they can become overwhelming, overbearing, basically just too much to manage! That’s okay too, the trick is in trying tools and techniques that can help us to manage them – in a healthy and productive manner.
Deep Breathing: This may sound really basic, but what can we say, it works! You can get the gist of what needs to be done with this one just from the name, but what you might not know is that it doesn’t have to be so simple! In fact, you can get very creative about the way you conduct your deep breathing. To name a few of the popular ones; Rainbow Breathing, Dragon Breathing, Stuffy Belly Breathing, and much more!
Meditation: No, this is not the same thing as deep breathing. Meditation relies heavily on focus and attention, you can also use visual and/or auditory cues to help further enhance the experience. One of the favorites here at Dolphin POD is Mandala Meditation.
Take a Break: Give yourself a brief time-out and collect yourself, maybe you can get a glass of water or take a small walk to clear your head (and your heart).
Communicate: It’s always helpful to talk about what you’re feeling, with someone you can trust, perhaps a trusted adult or a friend who can help piece this confusing emotional puzzle together!
There are a ton of other ways in which we can manage our emotions, we just have to be creative and see to it that they are healthy and productive in the manner and you’re good to go!