Is it just us, or does everything seem busier nowadays? With our schedules packed and our to-do lists never-ending, it is more important than ever to take time to de-stress and focus on what really matters—our families. Mindfulness is not a new concept, but it is accessible to everyone.
Mindfulness is a term for a type of meditation that can equip our kids with the tools to build self-esteem, help them to manage stress and skillfully engage in challenges they face. In just a few moments a day, as often as you can each week, you can reclaim moments of calm for yourself and help guide your family in this practice.
The cognitive and health benefits of practicing mindfulness have been well documented. Studies show that children who consistently practice mindfulness have increased academic performance and show lower signs of stress and less executive functioning troubles than before these exercises.
A Quick Mindfulness Moment
- Begin seated or in another comfortable position with your eyes closed or resting on the ground.
- Think about someone you love or look up to and who respects you back in turn. Younger kids may need some suggestions or guidance on this one.
- Ask these questions: How do you feel now that you think about this person? How does your body feel? What would make this person feel happy? Send them a kind wish or pray for them if you'd like.
- Now think about another person you have feelings of love or respect for. To guide kids, explain that this might be a classmate, neighbor, cousin or instructor. Send them a kind wish. After this wish is sent, bring another person to mind. This time, pick a person you might not know well, like a mail carrier, librarian, server or classmate. Again, send this person a kind thought or prayer too.
- Now, think about a person who has frustrated you lately. This person is a little difficult to interact with or gets on your nerves occasionally. Send this person a kind thought or prayer for something nice in their life.
- As this exercise ends, check in with your thoughts and body to see how you feel. Open your eyes if you closed them. Do you feel different?
See, that was not too bad. Take a brief moment like the one mentioned above to practice mindfulness with your family each week. Ask a librarian for help finding books about mindfulness that are just right for your family by coming into the library, calling, or filling out a May We Suggest form below.