“Unleashing Happiness” a monthly blog by Karen Lee Stevens

Founder and Director of Wellness Programs, Karen Lee Stevens shares her insights as she explores regular topics and experiences through the lens of mental health, wellness and the human-animal bond.


October 6, 2023


Whenever I teach Mindfulness to children, I’m prepared for just about anything. Recently, I was guiding a group of enthusiastic 5th graders through a calming breathing exercise and after ringing the singing bowl, signaling the end of our practice, I asked the kids how the exercise made them feel. I received the usual answers… Calm! Happy! Sleepy! Tired! Happy AND Calm! And then, amidst the chorus of young voices, one boy exclaimed with exuberance – “I feel GOATED!”

I thought I had heard just about every possible answer to this question, but I admit this was a new one for me! Curious, I asked him what “goated” meant and he proceeded to tell me (with even more enthusiasm this time) that he felt “the greatest and the happiest I’ve ever felt in my whole life!”

Now, all you sports fans probably know exactly what he meant. Even the folks at Merriam-Webster know what he meant. (Side note for all you logophiles: The dictionary recently added 690 new words to its already beefy book including — you guessed it — “goated”). GOAT, it turns out, is an acronym that stands for Greatest Of All Time and is often used to describe football or soccer players who are considered the absolute best in the history of the sport.

So there you have it. This youngster who felt “goated” had tapped into something truly extraordinary — his ability to change his state of being simply by practicing Mindfulness. He had essentially unleashed his inner greatness and discovered a source of strength, calmness, and resilience within himself that made him feel extraordinary.

We often think of mindfulness as a practice reserved for adults seeking stress relief and inner peace. But here’s the thing – mindfulness isn’t just for grown-ups. Children, too, can benefit immensely from these simple yet profound techniques that include deep breathing, guided imagery, and maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of their thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. For children, this practice can be a superpower.

So, the next time you hear a child say they feel “goated” after a mindfulness practice, don’t be surprised. Instead, celebrate it as a beautiful reminder that they are calling upon their inner goat — their superpower — to transform their young hearts and minds into something truly magical.

As for me, I came up with my own acronym for GOAT — Go Out And Teach. And that’s just what I’m going to continue doing because that’s my superpower — helping kids navigate life’s inevitable ups and downs through the practice of mindfulness and feeling the greatest and the happiest they’ve ever felt in their whole lives.

Questions, comments? Contact Karen@TherapyDogsSB.org

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