Smiling Mind, a new website and mobile app, is a mindfulness meditation program designed specifically with children and young adults in mind. Developed by an Australian nonprofit, Smiling Mind is available completely free-of-charge with registry.
The program takes listeners through guided meditations, beginning with a “body scan” session and moving on to sounds, thoughts, and emotions—always returning to the ever-calming, grounding sensation of the breath. All meditations are presented secularly.
If the program is as simple and easy-to-use as it seems, and, more importantly, capable of overcoming taboos of meditation among children and adolescents—who, let’s be honest, are the most difficult audience to win over—then there is enormous potential here. The truth is, it’s hard being that age, as co-founder of Smiling Mind, Jane Martino seems to understand: “Young people face increasing everyday life pressures—from their mobile phones, social media, hectic after-school schedules and exam pressures. What they need are tools to help them cope.”
Though children and young adults are Smiling Mind’s main focus, there are a total of four age settings, ranging from 7-year-olds to adults, with corresponding exercises. (The adult exercises were a welcome respite from a busy day at the office.) So it’s not just kids who stand to benefit. Imagine the iPhone, the ultimate distraction (it’s practically the convergence of all distractions that have ever been invented) instantly transformed into a talisman of unshakable equanimous awareness.
Smiling Mind is currently running a pilot program in 20 schools in Australia. Their long-term vision is to integrate the program into the Australian national curriculum by 2020.
Give Smiling Mind a whirl here.