|Posted on February 8, 2017 at 7:10 AM|
By Diana Scharf
My husband has me completely hooked on Netflix's Daredevil series. For those of you who don't know, Daredevil is about the crime-fighting adventures of the very sexy Matt Murdoch, who has been blind since he was nine. Luckily, Murdoch's other senses work in overdrive, and he relies on them to "see." He notices how many heartbeats are in a room, senses the movement of others, changes in breathing patterns. He notices the smells in the air, a person's body heat, and the like. This all comes in very handy when determining where the bad guys are, how many lie in wait, and where to throw a punch or block one. Have you guessed what his real superpower is? It's MINDFULNESS!
Well. We can't all hear a heartbeat from across the room, and we definitely should not use our mindfulness to dispense vigilante justice. (Actually, our legal department wants me to repeat that: DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT DISPENSE VIGILANTE JUSTICE. Please leave those matters to the police. Thank you).
But we can think of mindfulness as a super power. We can all become better people by just paying attention, being aware, and noticing the little things that tend to get overlooked. Does your friend's voice sound a little different today? Do you hear extra stress, sadness or happiness in it? Ask her what's going on--she will appreciate your kindness! Does your significant other carry a little extra tension in his shoulders today? Give him a hug and let him know that you love him--seems like he could use that right now.
For kids, the benefits of mindfulness are really amazing. According to a recent article in Time, kids who practiced mindfulness scored fifteen percent higher in math than their peers. They also showed better social behavior, were less aggressive and better liked. They showed improved focus in school, lower stress levels and overall improved well being. What a gift to give to your child!
As always, with very young children, the challenge is making it relevant so that they stick with it. So if your kid loves superheroes, point out how they use mindfulness: can your child also use super hearing? Ask him to really focus on what's happening around him. What does he notice? Is your child a super sleuth? Give her a magnifying glass and ask what clues she can discover. Maybe your kid can use fairy magic--what does it reveal? What can they notice in the world around them that other people ignore?
Yesterday my daughter decided she wanted to paint. She had a fantastic time (and so did my kitchen floor)! When she finished her painting, she turned her attention to her hands. "Mommy, this feels so good on my hands!" I asked what the paint felt like. "Squelchy." I asked how it felt when she rubbed her hands. Could she make a bigger squelch by squeezing her fists or patting her arm? I asked how how the brush felt, and could she notice the difference between the bristles, the metal and the handle. She didn't answer but I saw her very deliberately touch each part of her brush and take in the sensations.
Then we cleaned up and ate dinner, and I have to tell you, that child was delightful for the rest of the night. She ate her vegetables, didn't fight me when I said it was time for bed and even skipped her usual bedtime routine of begging me to stay with her so she wouldn't be lonely. Super power indeed!
Before I kissed her goodnight, knowing that I was either about to sit down and write this blog or get back to watching Daredevil, I asked her to be still and tell me what sounds she heard. I am not kidding you, she told me she could hear her heartbeat! She didn't hear it from across the room they way Matt Murdoch can, but she's off to a great start!