Visit the Spielwelt German Parents Association for more great children’s programs in German in Canberra
What is mindfulness or “Achtsamkeit”?
Mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” It is used as a therapeutic technique.
Why is mindfulness good for mental health and well-being?
Mindfulness brings about a sense of calm, and provides time for reflection and relaxation, which in turn can invite feelings of gratitude and a sense of well-being.
How is mindfulness practised at GAP?
First we explain to the children the idea of sitting still and thinking in their mind (not vocalising). Then we invite the children to sit quietly with their eyes closed, and simply become aware of the sounds around them, or aware of their slow deep breathing. Other times, there is a theme to our meditation, such as the exercises below. After one minute, the children hear a triangle chime signalling the end of our mindfulness meditation.
Exercise One: 1. Sit quietly and mindfully with your body relaxed. Try to be very still. 2. Close your eyes and take three soft, slow, smooth breaths. 3. Think of a word that makes you smile – perhaps Regenbogen, Schmetterling, Wassermelone, oder Hunde (rainbow, butterfly, watermelon, or puppies). Whisper it to yourself in your thoughts. 4. Think about this word and why it makes you happy. 5. Think about being happy and making people around you happy, perhaps with butterflies, rainbows, puppies, love, hugs, smiles. This is kindness.
Exercise Two: 1. Sit quietly and mindfully, with your body relaxed. Close your eyes and take three soft, slow mindful breaths. 2. Think of someone or something that makes you happy. Perhaps it’s a person or a special pet. 3. Imagine this special someone, surrounded by warm yellow sunshine. Feel happy that your special person is warm and golden. 4. Breathe in and out, quietly. Still. 5. Imagine sending the golden sunshine to someone else, perhaps someone who is sad. It’s nice to be kind and this will make them so happy. 6. Remember to take slow and smooth breaths in & out. 7. Imagine the sunshine yellow being sent to everyone in the world. 8. Does this make you Smile?
Exercise Three: 1. Sit quietly and mindfully, with your body relaxed. Be still. 2. Hold your hand over your heart and say to yourself “May I be happy. May I be kind.” 3. Think of someone you know, and say: “May you be happy. May you be kind.” 4. Now think of people you don’t even know, and say: “May you all be happy. May you all be kind.” 5. Continue your day knowing that everyone wants to be happy, just like you do.