I’ve always loved Goldie Hawn. I remember growing up watching her movies, seeing glimpses of her real personality come through each character. If ever a celebrity that I wanted to emulate, it was Goldie and her effervescent free-spirited nature. It comes as no surprise that once again, I find myself drawn to her, but this time it’s not just her personality and spirit, it’s her quest to help children learn ‘mindfulness’- a proven way to strengthen social and emotional intelligence.
In her book, “10 Mindful Minutes”, Goldie explains the importance of helping our children develop stronger, more functional brains. This isn’t woo woo, patchouli smelling, hippie discourse. This book and her MindUP program (a ‘mindful’ curriculum being used in North American public schools) is based on science, specifically neuroscience, the study of our nervous system, a.k.a our brain. She has collaborated with experts in disciplines such as Neuroscience, Human Development, Psychology and Education. Having been married to a Neuroscience undergrad/ Doctor of Clinical Psychology and having had brain surgery (to remove a benign tumor), I have a good foundation of how our brain functions. But this book blows my mind! (No pun intended.) Goldie covers how each part of our brain works in an easy to understand and approachable way. But enough about brains, how will this book change your life?
“‘10 Mindful Minutes‘ can change the direction in which society is moving today by strengthening the minds of the next generation. In these pages you find an educational (and entertaining) narrative that provides the scientific groundings as well as the practical strategies for developing your child’s- and your own- mindful awareness. You and your child can learn to live in this new way: being aware in the present moment, letting go of judgements and expectations, and being more fully available to others and yourselves.” – Excerpt from the Foreword, written by Daniel J. Siegel, MD
I bolded and your own, intentionally. We, as parents, also need to practice mindfulness. Studies show that children are only as happy as their parents. In other words, if we’re not happy, our kids won’t be happy. I believe myself to be a happy person, but my struggle is being a ‘present’ person. With a million things on my to do list, I am often scattered and overextended. My child often mirrors my behavior by acting restless, overly emotional, and suffers from separation anxiety (he gets upset when I leave him alone in a room.) Yikes. It takes a lot of my own mind strength to gather my thoughts into one brain command, JULIE, SLOW DOWN, BREATHE, BE PRESENT.
Goldie offers practical strategies on breathing, mindful sensing, optimism, happiness, gratitude, empathy, kindness and living a more mindful life. She also addresses anger, sadness, and fear. Her goal is to help parents and children “find 10 mindful minutes every day to reduce stress, renew your mind for clearer thinking, and create greater focus and connectivity with your children”. My goal is to get you to read the book so we can discuss it (who wants to go out for a glass of wine and talk about the stress hormone cortisol?).
“By sitting and mindfully breathing for 10 minutes a day, in as little as eight weeks you strengthen the part of the prefrontal cortex involved in generating positive feelings and diminish the part that generates negative ones.”
-Richard Davidson, PhD
Available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com
Photos courtesy of Berry.com and Barnes and Noble.com