Much of our stress and pain comes from being pulled away from the present moment. We are distracted with regrets about the past, worries about the future and judgments about the present. Mindfulness is all about encouraging awareness of oneself in the present moment, without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help to improve our social and emotional well-being, and contribute to the ability to manage difficult or stressful situations. Examples of mindfulness practices include body scans, guided breathing meditations and other simple exercises, which can help us to refocus on the present and calm our minds.
Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgement.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness can be beneficial for anyone - adults, youth, or children. The beauty of mindfulness is that it is flexible and accessible. It can be practiced in many different ways, and can be done at almost any time. For those who have truly embraced mindfulness, it becomes more than just a part of a routine – it becomes a way of life.
Please note: Mindfulness can be beneficial for people who have trauma related disorders. However, practicing mindfulness exercises may cause some people to re-experience traumatic memories. Guidance by a skilled mindfulness instructor is recommended.
The BC Children's Health Literacy team, along with a number of experts and youth, developed “Breathr” – a new mobile app to help introduce the concept of mindfulness and create an easy access point for those who are new to this practice.
The app provides opportunities for users to try out a variety of mindfulness practices, while also teaching them interesting facts about the brain science behind those practices. For example, did you know that regularly practicing mindfulness can improve your relationships with others? Or that it has been shown to change parts of the brain that affect memory, empathy and stress? Our aim is to show youth that mindfulness can be fun, easy to try, and that it can have very real benefits for their overall health and well-being.
The video below provides an overview of mindfulness, and benefits from a youth perspective (note: this video is available in Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi , Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese).