Goldie Hawn, the actress who played the ditzy blonde in “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” and “The First Wives Club,” has morphed into a brainy blonde in real life. In her book with Wendy Holden, “10 Mindful Minutes,” Hawn advocates a set of golden rules that parents and children may want to mind.
Fascinated by how our brains work, Hawn, a mother and a grandmother, has immersed herself into the world of neuroscience, and with a team of experts from various disciplines developed the MindUp curriculum, which teaches children how their brain can function at its optimum by adopting mindfulness — “the practice of being mindful of one’s awareness, feeling, and senses” — which is key to their mental, social, physical and emotional well-being.
While the book, based on MindUp, offers a grim portrait of the damages unmonitored stress can wreak on our brain, it also offers hope and shows how parents and children can adopt mindful practices that “take as little as ten minutes out of a busy day.” Some lessons, such as taking “brain breaks” (aka meditation or breathing exercises), may sound New Agish but are rooted in science. Repeated practices of taking brain breaks or mindful sensing (“appreciating all that we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel”) or developing gratitude (taking turns at the dinner table to say what we are thankful for) are “crucial for learning and vital to building new pathways in our brains.”
A quick read and interspersed with Hawn’s personal reflections, the book is chock-full of advice on how parents can help their children live moment-to-moment and thrive. The lessons seem like a no-brainer. Now if we can only find that 10 minutes to put theory into practice.