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‘Mindfulness’ Expert Helps Show Teaching Children to Reduce Tension


Mallika Chopra is an author, speaker and meditation expert for the animated children's series ”Stillwater." This photo was taken Dec. 21, 2020 (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
‘Mindfulness’ Expert Helps Show Teaching Children to Reduce Tension
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When the directors of the animated show “Stillwater” asked Mallika Chopra to be the show’s “mindfulness consultant,” she was pleased. Chopra is a mother, businesswoman, public speaker and meditation teacher.

Mindfulness is a person’s ability to pay attention to the present moment. It is a skill that some experts say can help children learn how to deal with tension.

Experts from the National Institute of Mental Health found that one in five American children have problems with anxiety.

Many children spend time watching animated programs such as cartoons. It was in December that the children’s show “Stillwater'' started streaming on Apple TV+. Its goal is to teach life lessons to children.

The main character is a panda that develops a special relationship with a family next door. The story is based on the “Zen Stories'' book, written by Jon J. Muth.


Using beautiful animation, “Stillwater” seeks to teach children to get through difficulty with patience and kindness. Apple employed Chopra to help bring the message of “Zen Stories” to television.

Mallika Chopra has written several children’s books and has a new one expected to come out in March called “Just Be You: Ask Questions, Set Intentions, Be Your Special Self and More.” She also is the daughter of Deepak Chopra, an expert in alternative medicine and health.

Deepak Chopra is a doctor from India who worked in Boston. His daughter explained how he was very tense and worked long hours when she was a child. But he discovered meditation and was able to change. Mallika Chopra started meditating at the age of nine and is professionally experienced in it.

Mallika Chopra helped support the show by offering her special knowledge. “They have done the most incredible job of storytelling and building characters and then sharing the lessons in this way...It’s joyful and really magical,“ Chopra said.

Rob Hoegee is the show’s executive producer and writer. He says Chopra helps the show better connect with preschool children and their needs and to explain what mindfulness is.

The producers aim to teach skills in the show like breathing deeply and how to find inner calmness in nature. Chopra says the show is a great tool to help children experience the moment.

This year, Chopra has also been trying to help others deal with the realities of COVID-19. She has been supporting people to become more at ease with the unknown.

“What I can offer is just moments where we can connect through breaths, be accepting of anger, frustration, and fear with our kids…But we, as parents, are feeling that as well,” Chopra said.

The long-term effects of stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the coronavirus concern Chopra. The mental health of adults and especially children is being affected.

“These are wisdom traditions which have lasted thousands of years,” Chopra said. “We tell our kids to take a deep breath in and out, to stop for a moment, we see how they can self-regulate better.”

Chopra surprises people when she admits that she does not meditate regularly. But she often returns to it when she needs it most.

“We all get angry and frustrated and need to let things go,” she said. “But it’s just when you have a technique... we know how to communicate better, have more empathy and compassion naturally.”

I'm Armen Kassabian.

Brooke Lefferts from Associated Press reported this story. Armen Kassabian adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

animated – adj. produced by a series of drawings or pictures that appear to be moving; made into a cartoon

consultant – n. an advisor

streaming – v. playing continuously as data is sent over the internet

frustration – n. a feeling of displeasure, unhappiness or anger because you are not able to do what you would like to do

self-regulate – v. to control oneself

empathy – n. the ability to share someone’s feelings

meditation –n. spending quiet time in thought

lesson –n. something learned through experience

alternative –adj. not traditional or usual

incredible –adj. very good, difficult to believe

How do you manage anxiety and stress during isolation? What advice can you give to children and parents who may be stressed out? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and visit our Facebook page.

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