What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an English word that means focused, sustained attention, in a nonjudgmental manner, to the here and now. It is the process of using your senses to pay attention to your internal and external experiences in the present moment. Mindfulness can take many forms. It can be a yoga practice, breath work, walking, coloring, or even martial arts. All mindfulness practices share a focus on sharpening attention and building self-regulation skills to handle challenging situations.

Mindfulness and the Senses

Children learn through their senses. Activities that are multi-sensory and include movement are the most engaging and are the easiest way to teach mindfulness. Attention to your senses gives you an immediate experience of the present moment. Your brain focuses on the mindfulness activity instead of worrying about the future or ruminating about the past.

Ways to be Mindful:

  • Do a yoga pose. Mountain Pose is the foundation for many mindful standing poses and breathing activities. It teaches children how to achieve physical balance while they steady their minds.  Stand up tall with your hands at your side. The palms of your hands should be facing forward. Take a deep breath in. Let it out. Stand up tall in Mountain Pose.
  • Do a breathing exercise. “Let It Go” Breath is a way to let go of something that’s bothering you. Stand up tall in Mountain Pose. Take a big step sideways with one foot. Turn your toes slightly in. Think of something that bothered you that you keep thinking about again and again.  Bring your arms up over the head as you take in a big breath through your nose.  As you fold forward, let your arms fall between your legs. Let all your worries and thoughts go as you breathe out
  • Listen mindfully. Close your eyes and listen very carefully for all the sounds you can hear. Open your eyes. What did you hear?

Most activities can contain a mindfulness component, but sometimes you need to be creative. Mornings are rushed for most families and there may not be as much time for mindfulness, so make it part of something your child is already doing. Have your child mindfully brush their teeth. This may require providing clues on the bathroom mirror, such as listen to the water, notice the taste, feel the toothbrush in your hands, smell and notice the color of the toothpaste. This activity will start your child’s day with focus and mindfulness.

Want to learn more ways to be mindful?  Join us for a kid’s aerial yoga class, kid’s therapy or read Mindfulness for Children: 150+ Mindfulness Activities for Happier, Healthier, Stress-Free Kids.