Mindfulness has an extraordinary ability to build a strong body, mind and spirit in adults, but also in our children. Science tells us that we can help protect ourselves and our children from anxiety, depression, illness, and pain. It also tells us that we can relieve symptoms of autism, ADHD, improve our social relationships and that academic performance is also better. Positive emotions are usually the best help for all this along with mindfulness.
Mindfulness is about stepping back and seeing the thoughts and feelings we have, how they come and go, without judging them, with a relaxed mind, and focusing solely on the present moment.
Children live in the present
Children know how to live in the present, but as life speeds up, the ability to experience calm or stillness can be more difficult. The earlier children are encouraged to pay attention, the greater their capacity for mindful presence. A regular practice of mindfulness will ensure that neural connections are strengthened and new ones are established. Mindfulness for children generally works best if it’s 5 minutes, or even less. Of course, if they can get more time, that would be great, but don’t force it. But how to achieve it?
Keep your children in a comfortable position and ask them to close their eyes. Then ask how it feels, noticing the breath inside you as the air moves in and out. If you put a hand on the wind, you will be able to distinguish the rise and fall of the air. To do this, it will be necessary to breathe about 5 times – 5 inhalations and 5 exhalations-.
After the 5 breaths, guide them to thoughts and feelings that they can access and that make them feel good, then invite them to let go of those thoughts and feelings if they are not good for them . Ask them to picture things that make them feel good like soap bubbles while continuing to focus on their breathing. Repeat breaths 5 at a time as needed until they start to feel good.
The clouds of thought
When children are aware of their breathing and can concentrate, then it is time to go one step further. Tell your children that as they inhale, to imagine their thoughts as little clouds above their head, let them picture that cloud floating up as they exhale. They should keep one breath slow and others strong to let the thoughts come but also leave.
Our body is closely linked with our mind and our emotions, so when we are not emotionally well we can feel physical pain such as stomachaches, headaches or others. It is necessary to nurture children’s awareness of the connection between mind and body by asking them to explore how they feel. In a quiet space where they can feel safe and private, they must be encouraged to realize their feelings from the confidence. There are two postures that will help you connect with your mind and your body:
- Superman. This posture consists of standing with your feet a little wider than the hip. You should clench your fists, stretch both arms out and fully lengthen your body. This expansion of physical presence through stretching and opening can increase a sense of power and pride.
- Wonder. Stand with your legs apart and your legs on your hips .
There are also other methods such as: the conscious walk, guided meditation or the calm jar or conscious jar that will help them understand their strong emotions such as anger or rage.