Take Your Child from “What If” to “What Is”
Inspired by questions from my last article How Mindful Children React Different to Challenges, I’m putting out a new weekly post with FUN mindfulness exercises for the family. After all, who said mindfulness had to be a drag?!
Remember, mindfulness takes training. The goal is to train your mind to observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement or criticism. In this, you can cut out habitual, negative thought patterns and prevent downward spirals of negativity. You further carve a path to access expansive inner resources of peace, contentment, meaning, and well-being.
If you want to go deeper with your learning, there are many good on and offline materials available. In fact, one of the best books I’ve read on the subject is Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.
This post (and the ones to follow) will primarily deliver fun and simple exercises you can practice with the family. One goal of these exercises is to train the mind to purposefully focus attention on a present experience. Try them in the morning, before bed, or at my favorite place/time: the dinner table right before you eat.
1. Breathe like a bee.
2. Create magnetic hands.
3. Dissolve a thought.
This mindful breathing technique is simple, yet powerful. The best part is it can be done anywhere and requires no equipment whatsoever. Breathing exercises can help shift the nervous system away from fight-or-flight mode (causing racing hearts, sweaty palms, shallow breathing etc.) into rest-and-digest mode (where the body heals and regenerates by performing tasks such as digestion, detoxification, elimination, and bolstering immunity.)
This breathing exercise is a wonderful way to calm anxious states of mind and body. Remember, any exercise should be done to one’s own comfort level.
To try it, watch the video above or follow these instructions:
1. Sit upright on the ground or in a chair.
2. Take a deep breath in through your nose to the count of 4.
3. Hold your breath to the count of 7.
4. Exhale through your mouth to the count of 8.
Want the cards for your house or school? Get a pack of GoZen! mindful minute cards here.