The essence of childhood has changed over the last decade. Not so long ago, childhood meant playfulness, innocence and beatification. Today it is all about added pressure, extra tuition, music classes, tennis classes, after school extracurricular activities and competitiveness to be better than the rest.

How much can a young mind handle though? At age 11, children become more aware of external surroundings as well as their own feelings. Logical problems become easier to solve as the understanding and planning part tends to be more clearer.

Are they prepared to cope up with such difficult, hectic, stressful adult like lives that is being thrown at them from all sides? Many will shake their heads in petulantly disgruntle. Yet amid the chaos students stir, schools in UAE have found a way to put these young minds at ease – sometimes. No magic remedies or some “how to get over” series you get from amazon, just a simple technique of breaking down a big tasks into small segments then finishing each pipeline individually.

Mindfulness, may be a growing trend

Mindfulness is an act of concentrating on one thing at a time. It is a growing trend in the UAE, where students are often finding it difficult to face the fast-paced and challenging nature of this region. Even at primary school, children are getting stressed and worry about everything including their studies, looks, friendships.Why extra-carricular activities importantWhile many schools have focused on exercise and nutrition for physical well-being, little has been done to prioritize mental health and learn ways to handle difficult situations and emotions. And it should be done, given the fact that 80% of stress is caused by our minds leading to many illnesses.

Mindfulness is a way of educating the heart and mind. It is a skill that teaches students to not only deal with difficulties and tension in life, but also notice the good things. You know, view the glass half full.

Few schools have found the concept so helpful that they have dedicated separate rooms for practicing mindfulness and conduct mindfulness sessions under the guidance of experts. Students perform relaxation and breathing techniques to slow down and think.

One such school is Greenfield Community School that is ground-breaking many movements towards student well-being and happiness that leads to better student performance.  It is the first school in the UAE to have two mindful rooms for primary as well as secondary school.

Mindfulness teaches students to practice peace of mind and concentration not just inside the closed doors of the school’s mindful rooms but in any environment or situation that the student might find themselves in. It could be in response to any problem or be a reaction. It trains the mind to be aware of the present moment and to observe your thoughts and feelings without forming any judgements or letting your mind wander.

The technique is proving to be highly useful in reducing symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety and improving attention span among the children and teenagers in UAE.

In fact when mindfulness becomes a student’s way of being, it results in creating a well adjusted person who is preventive and proactive.

Getting started with mindfulness

But practicing mindfulness on a daily basis is the key to reaping maximum benefits. For this reason it is important that teachers train up to facilitate implementation and bring mindfulness into their classrooms. Unless teachers are mindful themselves, they cannot teach mindfulness to their students.

Parents also need to pay a crucial role and foster a nurturing and mindful atmosphere at home. It is important that children see good role models at home who know how to remain calm and deal with stress positively.

All of these little elements play a vital role in the upbringing of a child, and that is why choosing the right school is very crucial for parents.

Having a purpose in life is key to happiness and contentment. Similarly having a purpose of staying with the present moment is the essence of mindfulness – whether you are eating, breathing or experiencing a particular emotion, mindfulness matters.