What is Mindfulness?
Teens are not performing to their potential. North America consistently ranks below the top 10 in standardized tests. We are developed nations and consider ourselves a model for other nations. The sad truth is that we are nowhere near that level. Developing nations consistently outperform us and by huge margins also. The USA was ranked 21 last year in the global education index. Education is a major contributor to the competitive advantage of a nation. North America is losing its position as a world super power. This is because of a whole host of distractions due to technological advance. On average, teens spend 11 hours every day on social media and they are multitasking during much of this time. Multitasking reduces a childs ability to focus and also makes one prone to errors.
Why Mindfulness is important?
Teens are bombarded with innumerable distractions. According to the Berkman Center Of Internet and Society based in Harvard University, 78% of teens have a cell phone and 50% of these teens rely on cell phone for most of their Internet usage. Teens tend to navigate this digital world through multitasking. Multitasking reduces a childs ability to understand information because the brain cannot be fully engaged in multiple things. Recently there was a CBS 60 minute program on mindfulness. In it they interviewed top executives and found that they all appreciate the freedom that technology gives them but they would not like constant connectivity 24/7 because they need some time to refocus themselves and be present with what they are doing. They also report that they work better when they are fully engaged in what they are doing. Numerous studies also support this fact. They are also worried that their kids may end up without the ability to focus. http://www.nais.org/Magazines-Newsletters/ISMagazine/Pages/Can-Teens-Really-Do-It-All.aspx, Mindfulness reduces a childs ability to focus and their ability to prioritize reducing their abilities as fully functioning individuals. Also studies show that multitasking reduces overall cognitive ability.
How to practice Mindfulness?
The best way to solve this problem is mindfulness. Mindfulness is being present in whatever you are doing. This is a Buddhist practice that was introduced to the west by Jon Kabatt Zinn. Mindfulness is a skill similar to physical fitness. The good news is that any skill is trainable and hence mindfulness too. The point of mindfulness is not to take 5 minutes to contemplate and then jump back into the crazy world. The point is to integrate it within your lives. Over a third of kids spend their dinnertime engrossed in a device. How absurd is this. Rather than enjoying delicious food or spending valuable time with your family, we spend it engrossed on some website. The best way to practice mindfulness is to start right now.