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Mindfulness Skills for Health and Happiness

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  • Relax their bodies and minds
  • Enhance attention skills
  • Calm themselves when upset

Science

Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for adults in helping to address a wide range of physical and mental conditions, improve wellbeing and the ability to think clearly.  The evidence for its effectiveness with young people is showing similar results, and although this evidence base is smaller, having only been developed recently, it is very promising and growing rapidly.  

Medical Research

Medical researchers have been analysing Mindfulness for over 30 years, revealing a wealth of health benefits including: reduced stress, increased immunity, improved impulse control, emotional regulation and sustainable performance. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was pioneered in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn Professor of Medicine Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts and others at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass) and has been used for over 30 years.
As stated in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program brochure of the Clinic’s Center for Mindfulness “almost three decades of scientific research suggest that training in mindfulness and MBSR can positively and often profoundly affect participants’ ability to reduce medical symptoms and psychological distress while learning to live life more fully.” Mindfulness-based treatments are now implemented globally as a form of complementary medicine in over 250 hospitals and Universities, and are currently the focus of much research funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Institute of Health (NIH) and others. Many participants have reported an increased ability to cope more effectively with stressful situations, anger, fear, anxiety and depression.
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Brain Science

Brain science informs us that the brain is constantly being influenced and moulded by the environment. Brain studies demonstrate that Mindfulness enhances happiness and health by creating measurable changes in the structure and functioning of the brain. Scientists like Dan Siegel and Richard Davison are discovering that practising skills of kindness such as mindfulness, enhance regions of the brain directly linked to empathy and relationships, reflection and decision making.

The Insula- empathy and compassion

Scientific Research using brain imaging has shown that meditation strengthens the area of the brain called the Insula and also helps it grow and expand. The Insula is the part of the brain integral to our sense of human connectedness as it helps to mediate empathy. Empathy helps you ‘’walk in another’s shoes’’ and understand another’s situation from the inside. With empathy comes compassion and kindness. Empathy and feeling kindness towards yourself and others have hugely beneficial effects on health and wellbeing. Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university’s new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behaviour said,”…mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance.” It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.

The Amydala and Stress

The amydala is part of the Threat and Self Protection System in the brain and is responsible for picking up on threats quickly and then giving us burst of feelings such as anxiety, anger or disgust. It is the brain network responsible for the ‘’fight, flight or freeze’’ response in the face of a perceived threat. The function of the amygdale is to regulate these feelings and is vital to our protection however; sometimes the amygdala can become overactive and unbalanced. By understanding what is happening in our bodies, we can learn how to help the amygdala to settle down and come back into equilibrium.
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Science of Positive Psychology

Positive psychology has demonstrated how positive emotions broaden our intellectual, physical and social resources and building up our resources. Decades of happiness studies now confidently identifies 3 leading factors responsible for creating a happy, healthy and productive life:
  1. Social Connection and Belonging
  2. Positive emotions such as Kindness and Empathy
  3. Healthy habits such as Gratitude for one’s life and Optimism

The Happiness Formula

H=S+C+V (Happiness =Set Range + Circumstances + Factors under your Voluntary Control) Our Set Range is like a thermostat for happiness we inherit from our biological parents and accounts for about 50% of our happiness. Science now demonstrates that we can raise our set point by brain training practices such as mindfulness. 35 years of happiness research reveal that external circumstances are responsible for influencing only 10% of our happiness. Factors under our Voluntary Control came out as responsible for 40% of our happiness. By understanding the happiness formula, we can take full responsibility and choose to take control of the 40% and cultivate in our lives what is essential for being genuinely happy, resilient and productive.
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Heart Science

Currently some of the most revolutionary research on the heart is coming out of the Institute of HeartMath (IHM). Heart Science clearly demonstrates that kindness practices create changes in heart rhythms which produce a favourable cascade of neural, hormonal and biochemical events that benefit the entire body. Such practices increase our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. However, this requires tools and practise, in much the same way that it takes techniques and practice to learn and developmental or athletic skills.
It is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart! Moreover, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function-influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart. According to Doc Childre and the research team at the Institute of HeartMath, as we learn to become more heart-intelligent and increase our emotional balance and heart/brain connection, we may well be surprised by new and enhanced levels of mental clarity, productivity, physical energy, overall attitude, and quality of life. In recent years, neuroscientist Dr. J. A. Armour made the exciting discovery that the heart has its own intrinsic brain and nervous system.
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Scientifically-Proven Benefits

Students -Parents -Teachers…Everyone benefits
  • Better focus & concentration
  • Increased calm and contentment
  • Decreased stress &anxiety
  • Enhanced health & wellbeing
  • Improved impulse control
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Skilful ways to respond to difficult emotions
  • Increased empathy & understanding of others
  • Natural conflict resolution skills
  • KindKids Project

    provides schools and communities with practical training in the skills of Mindful Awareness blended with the explicit teaching of values that underpin all learning and wellbeing. We draw on the leading studies of neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness education, to strengthen well being, awaken resilience and empower youth with the tools to thrive in their personal and academic lives.