Mindfulness is a great tool for children during this unprecedented time. With activities and schedules being turned upside down due to COVID-19, mindfulness techniques can help kids to reduce the stress and handle big emotions. The best part about mindfulness is there are many different ways to be mindful – from mind-body practices like breathing exercises, yoga and mindful eating, to stillness practices like guided relaxations. There is something for everyone in the family to try. In these uncertain times, when we all truly need to feel supported and connected, I encourage parents to explore mindfulness and see how it might support them and their family.
Here are few mindfulness techniques to try at home:
Be mindful outdoors. Take a ride your bike. Research tells us that spending time in nature can change how we feel. As you ride, pay close attention to what you see, hear, feel, and smell. If you have a basket, maybe even gather objects such as rocks, sticks, and leaves to create an art project or mandala.
Focus on the good. Every cloud has a silver lining, but sometimes it can be hard to find that silver lining when you are experiencing stress. Encourage your child to use her breath, while thinking of a positive affirmation such as “I am happy.” This will shift the negative mindset to a positive one.
Take deep breaths. Breathing techniques are a useful tool for self-regulation. Many children express how taking deep Elevator Breaths helped them to fall asleep at night or even in yoga! Taking ten deep breaths is a simple solution for big emotions that can be done anytime and anywhere. It is truly an amazing tool for reducing stress.
What makes an activity mindful, is if we pay attention to the activity while using our senses. That being said, there are lots of ways to cultivate mindfulness. If you need a few ideas check out Mindful Child Online classes or my book, Mindfulness for Children, 150+ Activities for Healthier, Happier, Stress -Free Kids. When beginning a mindfulness practice, start small with a few minutes a day. Also, try to pick a consist time to practice mindfulness to make it a habit. If your children are doing schoolwork, add in a few minutes of mindfulness throughout the day. Set time aside so that the whole family can practice together. After COVID-19 is over, kids will think back fondly on the mindfulness activities they did as a family.
You have the power to change your brain – one thought at a time!
Did you know you have the power to change your brain? You, not doctors, have the power to change
your thoughts. There are a lot of things
you can’t control in your life, BUT you can control your thoughts. Even though this sounds simple, sometimes it
is hard to change your mindset. Your brain is a muscle and just like the
muscles in your arms your brain needs to work out to grow strong, healthy, and
happy. Luckily there are lots of mood-changing
workouts for your brain.
Here are four mood-changing workouts for your brain:
Take Deep Breaths
Take 10 deep breaths. Find a peaceful place in your home or yard and practice taking ten deep slow breaths. Practice breathing throughout the day when you are happy and calm. Breathe all the way down to your belly to help your brain feel calm.
Go for a Walk
Walk out your stress and worries. Just 10 minutes of movement, in nature, can change how you feel. Relaxed movement reduces stress-hormone production, resulting in a happier, healthier you.
Have an “Attitude of Gratitude”
Have an “Attitude of Gratitude.” Gratitude shifts your mood and helps you to realize how much you have to be thankful for. Beginning your day with a short gratitude list is a powerful way to promote positive thinking and an overall sense of well-being.
Meditate Your Way to Happiness
Do a short meditation. Meditation actually changes your brain. When you meditate your brain makes the brain chemicals that help you feel happy and relaxed. Science tells us that the more you meditate the more brain chemicals your brain makes. Try making meditation a daily habit, even if it is only for a few minutes every day.
Focus on the Now
Neuroscience demonstrates you can actually grow happy centers in your brain by feeding them happy thoughts. When you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, notice the feeling and then do one of the brain workouts above to change it. You can’t change unpleasant things from the past, but you can choose to change the present by focusing on the good in the here and now. Want to learn more about how movement, mindfulness, and breathing can change how you feel? Sign up for our online aerial yoga and mindfulness classes. If you are in the Kansas City area, hang out with us for 12-weeks this summer in our aerial yoga classes and camps.