Meditation & Education: Using Zenimal to Uplift & Inspire the Next Generation
When people think about meditation, they often envision a solitary practice. While developing mindfulness techniques may begin with a shift in personal perspective, it spans out to include our relationships with others, the communities we take part in, and the world around us. After all, meditation not only cultivates a sense of calm, peace, and balance; it also refocuses your attention, strengthens self-regulation, and fosters compassion towards the people we come into contact with.
Like adults in the workplace, children are encouraged to perform and excel in today’s fast-paced world. They are expected to focus independently, work well with others, and maintain a positive attitude through it all. Kids are absorbing much more than English and math as they navigate their classrooms and hallways. They are learning how to function in the world.
Zenimal was made to create a reprieve from our busy schedules and help us find our true north amid the chaos of daily life. Studies show that meditation can reduce stress while strengthening your attention span, capacity for kindness, and overall sense of well-being. Studies show that infusing mindful meditation into children’s curriculum may be the next logical step to help education evolve with the times.
Meditation in the Classroom
Can Zenimal Kids be used at school? Of course! Zenimal is a screen-free mindfulness device that is easy to use and provides a variety of meditation options for all different ages and purposes. It can be used for solo meditation sessions, group exercises, and conflict resolution techniques. When students are calm and focused, it is easier for them to absorb information and put their skills to work. Zenimal integrates mindfulness into daily life by giving students access to a much-needed reset during their busy days.
With Zenimal, at the touch of a button, you can access 9 pre-loaded guided meditations and listen to them aloud with a group or with headphones on your own. You simply turn Zenimal on, select from the tracks, and pause anytime you’d like. They are convenient, portable, rechargeable, and have a 7-hour battery life.
At school, Zenimal can give students a break from the grind while helping them develop awareness, clarity, and compassion. Choose from Stillness, Breath, Inspiration, Empathy, and more. Regardless of which track you pick, the focus on personal growth and balance is a lesson that can be as valuable as learning to read or write. For both children and adults, a mindful meditation practice can be truly transformative and trickle over into many facets of life.
Finding Your Focus
Staying focused and on-task can be a challenge for many children, and meditation is proven to help. Zenimal can be used at the start of the school day, the end of the day, or as a mid-day break to help children refocus, regroup, and get back to the present moment. A mindful meditation practice can clear out anxieties and worries, calm a busy mind, and help clarify and manage thoughts and emotions.
Teachers can begin or end a class with a brief meditation or build meditation into their lesson plan to help students reset and refresh during the school day. The tracks range from 3-15 minutes, giving students plenty of time to tackle other projects while still developing their mindfulness skills. Over time, meditation can give kids a break from stimulation and help them feel more grounded and alert. Like a windshield wiper, following these guided practices can provide a clearer view, improve focus, and decrease mental frustration.
Embracing the Flow
Change is hard for everyone. It is a human instinct to want to control and compartmentalize every facet of our lives, and making the shift from one role to another can be extremely unsettling for kids and adults alike. Throughout their day, students and teachers wear many hats and are constantly switching gears to fulfill their expectations and duties.
Integrating Zenimal meditations into the daily grind is a simple, yet therapeutic, way to manage these transitions more effectively and overcome the overwhelm that everyone experiences during times of change. Students and teachers can use their mindfulness practice to stay present and centered in a bustling and oftentimes chaotic environment. Taking a few minutes to breathe, be still, and clear the mind can improve your sense of well-being, reduce anxiety, and cultivate compassion.
Cultivating Peace & Compassion
Conflict is a part of life. As children learn to socialize and self-regulate, they will inevitably encounter challenges with peers. Educators must create conditions that facilitate effective conflict resolution, encouraging kids to think and act thoughtfully and compassionately. Restorative justice is a modern movement that helps students to resolve conflicts individually or in small groups and is a growing practice at schools across the U.S. Rather than resorting to punitive measures, it focuses on rehabilitation and finding better ways to handle disputes, disagreements, and bullying.
Incorporating mindful meditation into restorative justice practices is a growing trend that can cultivate a students capacity for kindness and openness to resolution. Some schools offer mindfulness practices in lieu of detention, and give children the opportunity to choose peaceful alternatives or simply take some time out to calm down and clear their heads. A short meditation can do just that - filter out the emotion and urgency in exchange for a clearer view. Teaching this skill from a young age is not only relevant; it can alter the course of student lives.
As Aristotle said, we are what we repeatedly do. Just like we build muscles in the gym, we build minds at school. We teach children how to tie their shoes and use computers. We teach them to listen, be respectful, and articulate themselves. Meditation and self-regulation go hand in hand. To achieve, we must also rest. To go far, we must also be still.
Zenimal is a simple tool like the best ones often are. Anyone can use it regardless of their experience level, social status, or age. It isn’t time-consuming or hard to use. All you need is a couple of minutes and an open mind. Some say children are like sponges, and in many ways this is true. It is our job, as parents and educators, to teach them how to process experiences, handle difficult emotions, and decompress at the end of a long day. How to wring out what’s draining and fill yourself back up with the good. A new generation calls for new and improved methods. Let’s teach kindness, clarity, and gratitude.