Research has shown that introducing mindfulness into your everyday life can reduce anxiety and improve your overall mood. In our busy day-to-day lives, it can be so helpful to stop and take time to appreciate the moment. How many times do we answer questions while looking at our phones? How many times do we cook dinner and think about the next day at work? We have hectic lives and our do to list continues to grow, but why do we have to wait for our vacations to truly be in the present moment and accept our emotions…. lets start to do this now, today! Lets start this at home and encourage your partner or children to learn these skills too.
Mindfulness is the skill of learning to be in control of your mind rather than letting your mind be in control of you. It’s about having a full awareness of what’s going on in the present moment, without judgment or trying to change it. Mindfulness is also about staying focused on one thing at one time- an important skill for all of us to master. See below for some helpful ways that we can begin to incorporate mindfulness into our day-to-day lives with your family.
- Start small. Practice mindful eating! Pick a moment during a meal and encourage your family to stay silent for 2 minutes. During this time, encourage your family members to focus on what they are eating, the smells, textures, taste, etc. If minds wander, remind your family members to bring their attention back to the activity. After these two minutes, have family members describe their experiences. This may also be an appropriate time to encourage family members to share experiences from the day.
- When your outside with members of the family, encourage them to stop for a minute and pay attention to all of their senses (smell, touch, taste, sound, sight). Encourage your children to smell the flowers and describe this experience to you.
- Establish a “gratitude moment” everyday. Acknowledging what we are thankful for allows us to focus on the positive moments in the day and can improve our mood. Establish a consistent time each day for you and your family members to list what they are grateful for. This time can be at bedtime; at the beginning or end of a meal or every morning- do what works for you! If you want to take it a step further, encourage your family members to write it down and save these papers in a box that can be read at a later date.
- Make an emotions glitter jar! Fill up a jar with different coloured sparkles, each representing a different emotion. Shake the jar and have your children watch the sparkles settle, while taking big deep breaths. This can teach kids the skill of deep breathing, while also helping them to label and accept their emotions.
- Start practicing meditation. Pick a day once a week to start a meditation practise with your family. Check out Deepak Chopra’s mindfulness meditation for kids and families! http://www.chopra.com/apps/kids-meditation or http://www.chopra.com/ccl/how-to-get-kids-to-meditate