Mindfulness: it is Not Just a Buzzword

Mindfulness: it is not just a buzzword or a trend to be dabbled in. It is something that we as adults should be aiming to have a skill, and pass down to our children too. Before we look at how we can instill mindfulness in our children (and whole family), let’s look at what mindfulness is.

“a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

First things first:

In order to teach something like mindfulness, we need to have our practices in place. How do you do it? Do you meditate? Do you have an inner monologue of sayings that help you stay in that space? Whatever it is, you have to be doing it too. If not, there is no better time to start. Set a goal to begin meditating for at least 3 minutes a day – you can use an app to help you if you want, then up your time when you get more and more comfortable with it.

Think about why you are doing this? If you are finding that you are setting expectations, then perhaps you need to reconsider. Anything other than for your child to learn to process thoughts and feelings with a sense of confidence then stop.

Learn to listen:

Listening to something for a period of time is an easy way to introduce mindfulness to children. You can play an instrument gently, something like a ukulele has soothing and interesting tones (use easyukulelesongs for ideas) and sit and play along with your child. If you prefer you can use a singing bowl, chimes or a bell. Not only is it relaxing but it gets them concentrating on the sounds they hear.

Get Thankful:

It doesn’t have to be ‘thank you for dinner,’ but it should entail things that they are enjoying in life. Being grateful for the sun or the rain today, being happy with the comfortable bed, or learning a new word. Learning to cherish simple things helps you grow as a person and be much more aware of what is around us. Too often we give and take in life without really stopping to be grateful for the life we have.

It is something we all do every day, but when you become conscious of it and pay more attention, you’ll be surprised how much you can relax. It isn’t enough for you to say ‘think about your breathing’ it’s much better for you to breathe with them and give instructions too. For example – ‘let’s slow it down a bit,’ and you count your breath in and the out, they’ll copy and eventually find their rhythm that makes them feel best. Talk about their chest rising and falling, or their belly going in and out.

Mindfulness will help children focus on their blessings in life, their surrounds, their feelings and how to deal with them – all of which is great for growing up!

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