Mindfulness practices can be simple. They can be short.
They must be practiced.
Like any habit mindfulness must be done consistently and repetitively for the benefit to be realized. Here is the first in a series of practices even a busy parent can incorporate into their day.
Every day I remind parents – WE are the emotional anchor for the child. To be this anchor we must anchor ourselves in our own body first.
Grounding ourselves in the present moment doesn’t take long. We can start at any time. We can do it anywhere. And we will have millions of moments to practice.
This meditation, as taught by Michael Brown in his book The Presence Process, is great for grounding you into the present moment when life starts to get a bit out of control. Or when our children start to get a bit out of control.
When you catch yourself being pulled in too many directions, this will help anchor you to the present moment before you resume your daily activities – OR interactions with your child. If your child is upset or having difficulty, grounding yourself and remembering – I am here, now, in this, with my child – will support both of you.
Instructions: It is helpful to set a timer. Start with 5 – 10 minutes and work your way up in 5 minute increments to 20 minutes or more. The length of time isn’t as important as the consistency of doing this, or any other mindfulness practice, daily.
- Wherever you’re at, take a seat, close your eyes, and settle into your body.
- Become aware of your breathing.
- Take note of what you’re feeling in that moment and center your thought on your inhalation and exhalation of breath.
- Begin with the grounding mantra: “I am here, now, in this.”
- As you follow your breath in, silently think “I.”
- As you follow your breath out, silently think “am.”
- As you follow your breath in, silently think “here.”
- As you follow your breath out, silently think “now.”
- As you follow your breath in, silently think “in.”
- As you follow your breath out, silently think “this.”
- When the timer goes off, slowly open your eyes, take a couple moments to center yourself in this moment, and then continue on with your day.
The benefits of mindfulness practices
If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered the benefits of mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways.
- help relieve stress
- improve sleep
- reduce anxiety
- relieve depression
- prevent and treat heart disease
- lower blood pressure
- reduce chronic pain
- alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties
Observe more. Do less. ~ Magda Gerber