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Kristina Cavit, The Kindness Institute Founder 07.09.22

Kristina writes on the importance of being patient & kind with oneself. Harnessing the teachings of Mauri Tau to further her mental health journey.

"We have this misconception that a compassionate person is someone who takes care of others - that's part of it. But to be clear - the greatest change comes when we are compassionate towards our own thoughts and feelings. When we learn to be gentle with ourselves, this has a ripple effect on all of those around us."

Practicing mauri tau helps me to let go of worries of the past or the future and to find a little more calm.

But it's also taught me to give myself a break.

We have this misconception that a compassionate person is someone who takes care of others - that’s part of it. But to be clear - the greatest change comes when we are compassionate towards our own thoughts and feelings. When we learn to be gentle with ourselves, this has a ripple effect on all of those around us. It’s about doing better for our whānau, our community and everyone around us.

One of the main things we teach whānau is how to develop self acceptance. This was a big focus throughout August, as over 3,000 of us practiced mindfulness together for 31 days during Mindfulness Month. I recorded daily meditations and everyone received a Mindfulness journal and activities. It was inspiring to hear many stories of Mindfulness Month supporting people through everyday challenges, grief and mental distress. It’s been a massive privilege to be a part of a community where everyone is building their hauora and wellbeing together.

Through Mindfulness Month we have fundraised nearly 100k to go towards The Mental Health Foundation’s policy and advocacy mahi! That mahi advocates for a better, fairer, and more effective response to mental health and wellbeing. The whole legal framework around mental health is being reviewed right now and it’s time for the government to listen.

Four years ago The Kindness Institute handed over the largest submission to the Government's inquiry into mental health with over 13,000 signatures. We called on the Government to fund our mental health programs for all young people in schools throughout Aotearoa in partnership with our good mates Pause Breathe Smile. Four years later, this still hasn’t happened. Four years later and many of our rangatahi are suffering. So we've had to start our own mental health training for teachers and whānau to support young people through life's challenges. We’re going to make these trainings accessible for all.

We teach all sorts of subjects in school but are often missing out on the most important lesson - how to deal with life when things get tough. It’s time to break down our “toughen up” culture and to teach our rangatahi that their mental health is more important than their success.

My dream is that all young people throughout Aotearoa will have mental health education and access to the tools they deserve to overcome challenges. Mauri ora

Written by Kristina Cavit

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