While 17 families are burying loved ones and countless others have had their lives changed forever, our country is split politically instead of coming together. At a time like this, solidarity, unity, and love should not even be in question. These school shootings have to stop, and we must do whatever we can to make sure our children live full and happy lives. We, as a country, should all be so proud of the MSD kids, rallying around them, and supporting them. It is up to us, the people, to take action.
So, that is exactly what I am going to do, in the only way I know how: through reaching children when they are young and teaching them coping mechanisms for stress and handling emotions in a healthy way.
I don’t understand why kids today are filled with so much anger, or why they don’t know how to deal with their anxitey or depression without shooting and killing, or why those in power in our country are not doing anything about it. What I do know, is that I am more motivated than ever to reach as many children as possible, promote health and wellness, and encourage peace and positivity. It’s times of sadness like this that make me so grateful to have a platform to help little ones learn to live in peace, teach them the tools to deal with their emotions in productive ways, so they grow up less depressed and anxious and know how to handle stress in a way that does not include shooting up a movie theater, music concert, or school. We must teach kids to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” -Dalai Lama
The effects of living a healthy lifestyle in mind, body, and spirit, including Yoga, meditation, nutrition, positive thinking, and the ability to manage emotions, has been something doctors and therapists have started to look at more in recent years. In days past, it was thought that the mind and body were separate. However, we now know that there is, in fact, a mind body connection. Our thoughts have the ability to make us well or make us unwell. Science has shown that Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can assist in the healing process, and that our minds can control our bodies. If the constant negative loop is replaced with thoughts of love, for ourselves and others, then we will be healthier, and the world will be a healthier and kinder place.
When we are “stressed” out, we tend to get sick more often, sleep too much or too little, experience stomach discomfort, chest pain, etc. Many studies have been conducted, the results of which have shown the positive effects that the proper amount of sleep, diet, meditation, Yoga, exercise, and positive thinking can have on the body and mind.
Anxiety is a state of being everyone can relate to at one time or another in their lives. Chronic anxiety runs at a much deeper and more profound level for a large part of society. It can make them depressed, isolated, or angry. There are an abundance of medications, therapies, and techniques to manage anxiety, but these are simply band-aids.
Teaching Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness at an early age is part of the answer. It must be taught in schools and at home so that children learn how to cope when life inevitably becomes stressful. Many children have depression, anger, or eating disorders due to their anxiety, and the age of on-set is getting younger and younger. Kids are hurting other kids, and suicide has become a real threat for kids as early as middle school. Because of this, it is more important than ever to teach kids the tools they need to cope with emotions in a better way.
If kids are taught yogic-tools by parents and teachers at an early age and the yogic-mindset becomes an automatic response to stress as they grow-up, then the levels of depression and anxiety decrease, anger becomes better managed, and the amount of murders and suicides in children are kept to a minimum.
Science has proven that positive effects of a balanced yogic-lifestyle include decreases in depression, anger, and anxiety, better regulation of mood and anxiety disorders, reduction of stress, increased focus, learning, and creativity, reduction of heart disease and stroke, and increased feelings of compassion and empathy. Learning to deal with life’s issues in a more productive way will help kids to be less depressed and anxious teens and happier, peace loving, content adults.
By teaching kids to make a Yoga and meditation practice part of their daily routine, even if it is just for 5-10 minutes, they will lead a much healthier lifestyle, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Children killing other children is not supposed to be the norm. Our kids are not supposed to be afraid to go to school in the morning or experience warfare. I look forward to the day when we ALL come together to protect our children and fight against this epidemic, and when it ceases being Democrat vs. Republican and we are simply ONE.
Something we can start doing right now is sharing Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness with our youth. Children are more impressionable in their formative years, and they love spending time with their loved ones and role models, so let’s read them books that showcase yogic-principles of health and wellness, and lets play interactive games that encourage peace and positivity…and communication. For example, I play the Happy Game with my son every night before he goes to bed. I ask him to tell me three things that make him happy or one thing that made him smile that day. This not only begins to train his brain to think positively at an early age, but it also allows us to spend a few minutes every day talking to each other. It is also a very easy game to implement during school hours as a roundabout in the classroom.
The Happy Game is a Wuf Shanti game. Wuf Shanti is a Yoga Dog character that travels the world sharing with children how to do Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness through fun games and music. Importantly, Wuf Shanti was created by a child for other children, with the intention of helping kids learn to live a healthy and peaceful life. With everything going on in the world right now, I think that is an important point to emphasize.
Please join us in our mission to create a healthy, safe, happy, and loving world for our children to Thrive in. In whatever way possible. Run for office, become active in a worthy organization, practice Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness with kids, be a source of strength, light, and positive change for our children, communities, and the world. Practicing Yoga, meditation, and positive thinking for even a few minutes every day with children will help school violence to become a rare occasion rather than the norm, which is how it should be.
The Wuf Shanti team is sending our South Florida tribe hugs, love, and light. May peace be with the souls that have crossed over and their families and all of those affected by this tragedy.