Mindfulness Meditation Helps Singaporean Children Cope with Stress

By BD Dipananda
Buddhistdoor Global | 2017-11-24 |
Dr Koh Li Wearn practicing meditation at home with her children, Jon Yew and Jean Anne. From straitstimes.comDr Koh Li Wearn practicing meditation at home with her children, Jon Yew and Jean Anne. From

Ms. Mallika Kripalani, founder and director of The Conscious Zone— a company, based in Singapore, that specializes in bringing mindfulness, acceptance and commitment training, and stress-management solutions into schools, homes, and businesses— is introducing mindfulness to children and adolescents to help them cope with stressful situations both at school and beyond.

Even at a very young age, children can benefit from mindfulness meditation. As Kripalani explains, “If a child knows how to breathe mindfully, it helps him calm down quickly and to break the cycle of anxiety, anger or frustration when he’s having a tantrum, ” adding that many parents enroll their children in her mindfulness workshops to learn how to calm down and focus during examinations or other activities such as sports.

Even though even adults might have difficulties practicing mindfulness, children can to learn it as long as they are engaged in the exercises and learn mindfulness meditation in steps. Young children, for instance, might not be able to sit still or close their eyes, but they can start with a short 30 seconds breathing exercise, where they are asked to pay attention to their breathing, feeling their chest rising and falling and their breath going in and out.  “You want to make sure you create a safe space for everyone who’s present. I’ve had kids in my class who don’t want to close their eyes or who need to fidget or move a little. It takes time,” says Ms. Kripalani. (The Straits Times)

For older children, Ms. Kripalani explains she tries to get their interest or attention first: “the first thing to do is engage the children. We get them interested by giving them real-life examples, such as actor Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine in the X-Men movies. He meditates regularly. We keep it fun for the children with stories, anecdotes, jokes and other activities.” (The Straits Times)

Ms Lim Yu Lin doing a mindfulness breathing exercise with her children, Isabel and Leon. From straitstimes.comMs Lim Yu Lin doing a mindfulness breathing exercise with her children, Isabel and Leon. From

Encouraged by his mother, who also practices meditation, nine-year-old Gautam Venkatraman, a student at an international school in Singapore, started practicing meditation at age seven, when he took part in a mindfulness workshop with his 13-year-old sister, Sashwika. At first, he like many other children, he had trouble keeping his eyes closed during the meditation sessions: “"I kept blinking or opening my eyes. Now, I can do five minutes straight," he proudly announces. (The Straits Times)

Gautam mentions that two years later, mediation has helped him a lot. When he plays tennis for instance, he is aware of the negative thoughts that arise in his mind and is able to switch them to more positive thoughts by taking a mental break to calm and focus himself. “A lot of times, in tennis, when you’re losing, you have to calm down and get back into the game. I don’t think about the points lost. I think ahead,” says Venkatraman. (The Straits Times)

The siblings Leon, nine, and Isabel Loh, seven, explained that practicing meditation has help them learn how to cope with anxious or frustrating situations. As Isabel explained, “You don’t feel so stressed if your friend fights with you. You take three breaths and you know you shouldn’t say anything bad back to her.” (The Straits Times)

Ten-year-old Ho Jon Ye, mentioned that mediation helps him deal wit the anxiety and stress of examinations at school: “I think it’s quite useful in school, before sitting an exam and whenever I get teased, to stop myself from crying or arguing. I can breathe consciously and walk away. But it doesn’t work all the time.” (The Straits Times)

Mindfulness is an ancient technique used in many meditative religious traditions, including Buddhism, which is now very popular among modern physiologists, neurologists, and physicians. Many studies have asserted that mindfulness offers numerous benefits, such as stress reduction, deep relaxation, and more positive states of mind.

See more

Helping children cope with stress: Meditate...and breathe (The Straits Times)
Mallika Kripalani (The Conscious Zone)
The Conscious Zone

Related news from Buddhistdoor Global

Refuge Recovery Groups in the US Use Mindfulness and Meditation to Fight Addiction
US Hospitals, Medical Schools Target Physician Burnout with Buddhism-based Compassion Training
US Mormons Engage in Buddhist Mindfulness Practices
Toronto Police Officer Shares the Value of Mindfulness
Mindfulness Continues to Rise in the West, but not Without Critics
US Schools that Have Replaced Detention with Meditation Are Reaping the Benefits
Mindfulness Key to Unplugging Children from Online World, Says British MP

Related features from Buddhistdoor Global

Buddhism Today and Tomorrow: Challenges and Prospects
The Science of Mindfulness and Beyond: An Interview with Prof. Richard J. Davidson, PhD
Loving your Tick: Book Review of Mindfulness as Medicine
Can There Be Too Much Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is a Moral Arc:” An Interview with Dr. Lynette Monteiro
Buddhistdoor View: Politics as Public Mindfulness—Engaging with Dissatisfaction and Non-attachment
There Is Also Joy”—Mindfulness-based Dementia Care
Exploring Buddhism’s Tensions With Modernity: An Interview with Prof. David McMahan

Please support our work
    More Comments
    Share your thoughts:
    Reply to:
    Name: *
    Content: *
    Captcha: *
    I have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy of the buddhistdoor global website.
    Back to Top