Adam, age 13
To kick off National Stress Awareness Month, CFYM is delighted to bring the perspective of a 13-year-old to the conversation, as Adam shares his hope and strategy for addressing kids’ stress. Sometimes adults just need to stand out of the way and let the next generation lead. – Ed.
As far back as I can remember, probably starting at age 5, my mom would make me learn about charities and how to give back to help people. It seemed natural for me to become a peer counselor in school. It also made sense to take my great-grandfather’s teachings and pay it forward to teach other kids about mindfulness.
When I created Wuf Shanti, a dog character for kids, I intended to help them learn to focus on health and wellness, peace and positivity. Shanti means peace. There is so much stress, bullying, isolation, and negativity in school, that I wanted to help kids learn how to cope with emotions and trauma.
Science has shown that yoga, meditation, and positive thinking can help the healing process. I figured that if these practices can help with illness, they can also help to deal with anger, depression, and anxiety. Kids can learn, through a curriculum of fun games and music, how to care for their bodies and minds, be kind and compassionate, be inclusive and respectful, and live in gratitude and light.
What happened [at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School] in Parkland really upset me. I am so grateful to these students who are going to be our next leaders as they are trying to keep us safe. I want to help them. While they are working on getting automatic weapons off the streets, I’m going to continue our work with Wuf Shanti to focus on better health and well-being, and work to get the curriculum into as many schools and hospitals as possible.
There has been a rise in suicide and homicide in young kids and we need to do everything we can to stop it. If we can reach kids when they are young and these tools become an automatic response to stress, then hopefully they will grow up to be happier, peace-loving, content adults who deal with emotions in a more productive way and don’t shoot up schools, movie theaters, or concerts.
During National Stress Awareness Month, Wuf Shanti is traveling to schools and hospitals around the country to share the yoga mindset with kids, parents, teachers, and people in healthcare. We need to reach as many people as we can to let them know the mental and physical health benefits of yoga, meditation, mindfulness, positive thinking, and positive communication. Learning techniques such as breathing exercises can help kids with focus, concentration, self-confidence, and self-esteem. These same techniques can boost immunity, endurance, and energy, along with doing better in school, making new friends, lowering blood pressure, and much more.
Our minds can control our bodies. If we all make an effort to lead a life of wellness, empathy, and compassion “off the mat,” then we can make this world a better place.
Take a look:
Adam is the 13-year-old creator of Wuf Shanti, Yoga Dog for Kids. With all the violence going on in the world and nearby in Parkland, Florida, Adam wants to get out this message of positive thinking and the benefits of yoga and mindfulness meditation to kids, parents, teachers, and doctors. Created by a kid for other kids, Wuf Shanti travels to schools and children’s hospitals to share yoga, meditation, and mindfulness with children to promote health and wellness and encourage peace and positivity. Wuf Shanti videos can be seen on the Children’s TV Network in children’s hospitals across the country, on local PBS stations, on the Wuf Shanti Yoga Fun Machine mindful mobile app, and on the Wuf Shanti YouTube Channel. Wuf Shanti videos, books, and mobile app were awarded the Mom’s Choice Award for “Best in Family-Friendly Media, Products, and Services” and the mobile app was named “Best Health App for Kids” by Common Sense Media. To learn more about Wuf Shanti, visit wufshanti.com and/or join on social media.