Today we want to share with you a topic that is near and dear to all of our hearts, mindfulness.
Mindfulness refers to an ability to focus on thoughts, feelings, or perceptions that arise moment to moment in an emotionally non-reactive way. This allows people to purposely pay attention in the present moment, non-judgmentally. (Schonert-Reichl, et al.).
Research indicates that mindfulness practices can increase awareness of moment-to-moment experience and promote reflection, self-regulation, empathy, and caring for others (Holzel et al., 2011).
Mindful activities might include mindful breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation, mindful eating or walking – really any activity to causes you to be fully present and focused. These practices usually involve activating multiple senses to fully experience what is happening in the present moment.
What does mindfulness have to do with the brain?
Practicing mindful activities like controlled breathing have the following benefits:
1. Calms the stress response (releases the amygdala)
2. Strengthens attention
3. Promotes brain integration (gets the different parts working together)
4. Fosters better sleep
5. Strengthens self-awareness
GoNoodle Mindless to Mindful https://family.gonoodle.com/activities/from-mindless-to-mindful
Check out The Honest Guys on YouTube and on your device music app to see what you are craving
CALM App (available on Apple and Android devices)
Breathe App (available on Apple Devices)
Smiling Minds app (available on Apple and Android devices)
Activities to try with your children
One easy way for children to dip their toes into mindfulness is through body poses. To get your kids excited, tell them that doing fun poses can help them feel strong, brave, and happy.
Have the kids go somewhere quiet and familiar, a place they feel safe. Next, tell them to try one of the following poses:
- The Superman: this pose is practiced by standing with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out to the sky, stretching the body as tall as possible.
- The Wonder Woman: this pose is struck by standing tall with legs wider than hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips (Karen Young, 2017).
Ask the kids how they feel after a few rounds of trying either of these poses. You may be surprised.
While on the subject of superheroes, this can be a related “next step” to teach kids how to stay present.
Instruct your kids to turn-on their “Spidey senses,” or the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him. This will encourage them to pause and focus their attention on the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses bring in (Karen Young, 2017).
This is a classic mindfulness exercise and encourages observation and curiosity—great skills for any human to practice.
Coming up later this week:
Tuesday: Growth Mindset
Thursday: Mindful Movement
Friday: Nutrition & Mindful Eating