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10 Mindful Minutes: Giving Our Children–and Ourselves–the Social and Emotional Skills to Reduce Stress and Anxiety for Healthier, Happy Lives

Author: Goldie Hawn

Reviewed by K.T. Korngold

Goldie Hawn, (actress, comedian, director, mother) developed the revolutionary MindUP program to teach young children how their brains work.  As children discover where their emotions come from and how their brains function, they become more self-aware and begin to discover the positive effects of mindfulness. This, in turn, empowers them to manage and reduce their own stress–and helps them to be happy.

This book takes the basic information behind the MindUp program and gives us–parents, teachers and care givers–a very clear understanding of how the brain functions, thus enabling us to give that vital information to the children in our lives.  The understanding of how our brains work empowers us (and even very young children) to reduce our own anxiety and actually influence how we feel and act.

Importantly, Hawn connects the overuse of digital media (computers, video games, cell phones) to changes in our children’s attention spans and explains the negative effects of such usage on a child’s ability to communicate.  She demonstrates how the bombardment of violence in TV and games desensitizes our children and changes their abilities to be empathetic.  These are worrying trends for our children and their future; thankfully her book gives us (and the children in our care) the tools we need to counterbalance and change course.

The steps and practices she offers are easily assimilated into our busy lives.  We all can use these skills, even in small amounts, to help reduce our stress and anxiety and aid our children in developing powerful and sustaining life-long habits.  If we are attentive to her words, we can help shape our children’s brain for a lifetime of resilience and happiness and aren’t those two among the qualities we wish most for our children as they grow?