There’s a new resource for teaching young children across Michigan about the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, and these guys are usually wearing some pretty colorful costumes when they’re revving up the crowd at Detroit’s pro sports games.
The Detroit Lions’ mascot, Roary the lion, and the Detroit Pistons’ mascot, Hooper the horse, are featured in a new series of short, engaging videos aimed at teaching kids how to use the basics of mindfulness and meditation to help their bodies and minds feel better. These brief, guided lessons are called “Mascot Mindfulness” and they were produced in partnership with the pro sports teams and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
There are six different videos and each one teaches children a different technique they can use to improve their mental health. The videos use simple explanations and show the mascots modeling the steps of mindfulness and meditation so kids can follow along. The goal is to give them something easy to do for themselves so they can learn how to better focus their attention, be more aware of their body and their surroundings, and even lessen any anxiety.
The video topics include:
- Nature breathing: How to calm yourself with deep breathing and slow movements.
- Gratitude practice: Deep breathing combined with focusing on things you are thankful for.
- Five senses practice: Using mindfulness to focus on what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and what your favorite foods taste like.
- Hand breathing exercise: Concentrating on slow breathing while tracing the outline of your hand with one finger.
- Mindful breathing practice: The basics of connecting with your breath and focusing your thoughts.
- Mindful breathing: The basics of deep breathing.
Back to the classroom preparation. These videos, which are two to five minutes in length, were produced in conjunction with Blue Cross Virtual Well-Being in the hopes of giving kids the tools they need to handle the transition back into the classroom this fall. The mascots make it fun, but the message is important. Research has shown that when children learn to practice meditation and the mindfulness of learning to be in the moment, it can lead to better mental health. It can also bolster their academic skills and improve their ability to have good social relationships. By showing them how to feel more in control of their bodies and minds, mindfulness gives them techniques to calm themselves if they become upset or anxious.
Rolling the message out to schools. To ensure that it reaches as many children as possible, this video series will be shared with all Michigan K-12 schools that participate in Blue Cross’ Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program. Last year, more than 200 schools across the state were on this list, so these how-to messages on mindfulness and meditation are expected to reach more than 90,000 students this year. This BHC effort with the new videos is a prime example of how the program works with both public and private schools to provide resources and curriculum material aimed at keeping kids healthy, including addressing students’ mental health and well-being.
“Mascot Mindfulness has provided an opportunity to connect Blue Cross’ important work with Building Healthy Communities and Virtual Well-Being to our deep, rooted children’s health-focused relationships with the Detroit Lions and the Detroit Pistons,” said Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Offering kids and even adults the ability to reduce stress in quick and effective ways – guided by fun instructors like our teams’ mascots – can help make a difference in our overall well-being.”
Photo credit: BCBSM