Goldie HawnFor over 16 years, The Goldie Hawn Foundation, through its MindUp program, has been teaching children how to effectively manage stress, regulate emotions and face challenges head-on with positive mechanisms. MindUp has recently revealed a free service that families can access at any time. For instance, short, five-minute exercises teach daily gratitude. The audio exercises are “designed to help children regulate emotions and increase overall wellbeing through positive psychology, mindful awareness and social-emotional learning.” To increase accessibility, programs are available in most languages.

What is The Goldie Hawn Foundation and MindUP?

The MindUP program partners with The Goldie Hawn Foundation, established in 2003 to encourage mindfulness practices among children. This foundation works directly with neuroscientists to establish boundaries and promote brain development. Goldie Hawn comments, “we’ve demonstrated that if students take two minutes for a brain break three times a day, optimism in the classroom goes up almost 80%. On the playground, aggression goes down about 30%.” Moreover, different exercises within the curriculum offer suggestions on how to manage emotions and behavior. For example, one exercise is labeled as a gratitude circle. Hawn describes this activity as “where kids go around saying what they’re thankful for.” This allows children to feel like they are in a safe space where they can adequately show their emotions.

The Goldie Hawn Foundation Helps Families Despite Difficult Circumstances

Unfortunately, the pandemic has closed many schools across the world, putting many families in vulnerable and stressful situations. Parents that work full-time jobs simply don’t have time to homeschool their children. Online school is seemingly impossible for younger kids who can’t seem to sit still. The World Health Organization has reported that “more children are struggling with concentration and nervousness amid lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mindfulness helps combat this restlessness. MindUP has partnered with Insight Timer, the world’s largest free meditation app, to provide free audio and visual exercises that teach daily gratitude. Recognition by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has given these short but highly effective exercises a platform to continue mindfulness teachings. Children learn techniques to improve focus, develop empathy and encourage relationship-building through optimism, resilience and compassion. These lessons are available in an array of languages to encourage participation around the world.

Experimental Learning Leads to Success

A 2015 study analyzed MindUP by measuring the effective nature of mindfulness within schools. A random assessment was conducted on a group of 100 fourth and fifth graders within a public school district of Canada. Half received the mindfulness program, while the other half maintained their regular program. The two groups were compared subsequently. Focus on upper elementary school children in this study was one of the main components. This is because “it is during this developmental period that children’s personalities, behaviors, and competencies begin to consolidate into forms that persist into adolescence and adulthood.”

Findings concluded that mindfulness does, in fact, work in favor of effective teaching styles and promotes valuable lessons that ought to be learned. Similarly, this may lead to increased social and emotional competence among elementary students. Benefits would result from adding mindfulness practices to any regular school curriculum.

Quotes from Goldie Hawn

  1. I’ve learned to manage the fear and pain. It’s not easy, but with a few life tools, you can control the monkey mind. I’d say it’s my life’s mission.”

  2. “I’ve meditated since the 1970s, but now I really see the results. People talk about how the brain weakens as it ages. Mine feels stronger. Meditation thickens the cortex, where we make decisions, analyze, feel more connected to others and dream.”

  3. “If you supplant each negative thought with three positive ones, you begin to restructure your brain. Research has proven that this practice can lift people out of depression. That’s a powerful force.”

  4. “Slow down. Enjoy this ride. It’s all we’ve got.”

Natalie Whitmeyer
Photo: Flickr