Research indicates that compassionate children become caring and optimistic adults. Compassion can be cultivated through formal meditation techniques. Below is a modification of the classic compassion meditation, designed to appeal to kids.
1. Find a relaxed, comfortable position to sit in.
2. Close your eyes. Place your hand over your heart and notice the rise and fall of your breath.
3. Take three full deep inhales and let the exhale fall out of your mouth with a sigh. As you do this, imagine you could relax all the muscles in your body.
4. Let your hands rest in your lap.
1. Picture in your mind the image of someone you love deeply. This could be a grandparent, a teacher, or even a pet. Notice how they look at you. Imagine they are smiling at you. Notice how that makes you feel. Imagine telling them how you feel. Wish for them “May you be safe and happy.”
2. Next, imagine that you are looking at your best friend. Notice your friend’s eyes and smile. Think of how much fun you have together. And imagine saying to your friend: “May you be safe and happy.”
3. Now imagine a person from school that you don’t know really well. Someone you don’t have a strong opinion about. You do not like or dislike this person, but you see them sometimes in the hall or cafeteria. Imagine saying to this person: “May you be safe and happy.”
4. This time, picture someone that you find to be a little difficult. You do not need to choose your worst enemy, but this is not your favorite person either. Imagine you could look this person in the eye and tell them: “May you be safe and happy.”
5. Finally, imagine that you could send these well wishes out to everyone in the world. People, animals, fishes and bugs too: “May they all be safe and happy.”
Reprinted with revisions from drgreen.com.
Heather Stang, MA is the author of Mindfulness and Grief, a book based on the 8 week groups she developed and now facilitates. Heather is a mindfulness meditation instructor and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner at the Frederick Meditation Center, which she founded in 2014.