We need to pay attention to the mind not just the body. In school, a child sitting at his desk working on an art project suddenly decides to make a joke. He disrupts the entire class bringing both laughter and frustration. On the soccer field, a young athlete gets a penalty he thinks is unfair. He shouts and throws the ball, getting in even more trouble. At home, a young boy checks around his bed, in the closet, all the doors, and in the bathroom three times to make sure everything is safe. At the same time these children have healthy bodies. They move their bodies daily and have great nutrition. Their bodies are healthy, their minds are not. We focus so much on getting children to remain active and eat their veggies that we often forget about the health of their mind. OCD, ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, Anxiety, and other disorders are often misdiagnosed and misunderstood when it comes to children. If a child presents with an unfavorable behavior or seems different than others, so often we punish and scold the child before asking the question “Where is this coming from? Why is this happening?”
Talking about health just doesn’t make sense without talking about the mind. It’s more than meditation, though, I fully believe in age-appropriate meditation at any age. Meditation can bring someone from the top of their anxiety wave, back down to homeostasis. Often times, though, there is an underlying condition that’s controlling these young minds to be or behave differently. Finding the source is key because we simply can’t thrive without the health of our mind.
For a number of years I’ve taught children’s programs focusing on physical literacy, i.e. proprioceptive, spatial, auditory, body, directional, tactile, temporal, vestibular, and verbal awareness. I started learning about physical literacy to help my own children and I just became fascinated with the subject. I put it all to use with my own children and others. As a fitness specialist my mind always goes to the body first but working with my own son made me realize there was more to the equation than physical literacy for our family. I started to notice different behaviors from children in my kids fitness classes, as well. Some kids were totally on point. They wanted to work hard, their body movements were fluid, and the boxes in my physical literacy checklist were all checked. However, I’ve had a handful of kids who seemed afraid, shy, anxious, hyperactive, and insecure in their movements. There was so much great work to do together but a part of me knew that their personal health of the mind went deeper than physical literacy. Their minds needed more. I only really saw this because I was looking and listening for something. I sensed a difference.
If we can strive to pay attention to how we work the mind like we do our body, the world will be a much better place. Yoga, meditation, and therapy are places to work our minds. Is it possible that people don’t realize that they can still be themselves (values, career, dreams) and also do the work on their minds to better themselves? It won’t take away your game, it’ll only bring improvements. We should all be striving to be the best versions of ourselves every moment of every day. We may slip up from time to time but it’s the process, the journey that matters.
Is your battle is anxiety? Then there is help out there. Maybe depression is a cloud surrounding you, there are people that can help. Is your child struggling in school, with friends, or at home? Don’t ignore it. Help them now so they can continue to grow to be the best versions of themselves. Adults needs people, a village, and so do children.
When your child comes home from school, soccer, and piano lessons, do they need to just sit and breathe? Do they need to talk to someone? Let’s make a deal to listen, watch, and react with compassion so we can grow and nourish our future.