How to turn your everyday activities into a beautiful mindful moment
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Many parents and carers that I speak to, tell me that they like the idea of mindfulness and are aware of the many benefits, but just don’t have the time for it - but what if I told you that mindfulness can be done anywhere and anytime?
When I mention it to children, they often only know it as taking a few deep breaths. Although when they demonstrate these to me, they are often fast and shallow, with their shoulders rapidly going up and down in sync. I know that you can picture it and it is super cute!
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment, focusing on the here and now and not concerning yourself with what has happened, or will happen. Just embracing being fully here in this moment in time. Unlike meditation, mindfulness is not about being completely absent of thought, just being disconnected from them. Letting them come and go and acknowledging them as a passing phase.
Embrace each moment as it is, with acceptance and free from judgement.
Mindfulness can be done anywhere, anytime and simply requires you to give whatever you are doing 100% of your attention.
Practicing mindfulness can have many benefits for you and your family as a whole by:
- Reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
- Improving general mood, happiness and wellbeing.
- Improving sleep.
- Increasing executive thinking - working memory, flexible thinking, inhibitory control
- Increasing focus and concentration, including the ability to follow instructions and improving impulse control.
- Helping you to become aware of destructive patterns and stopping them in their track.
- Improving patience, clarity, productivity and encouraging a growth mindset.
- Improving empathy and sensitivity to others.
- Improving ability to communicate with others, strengthening relationships.
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You could enjoy a mindful walk and doing the 5 senses exercise together.
- First, notice 5 things that you can see. Look around you and become aware of your environment. Try to pick out something that you don’t usually notice.
- Second, notice 4 things you can feel. Bring attention to the things that you’re currently feeling, such as the texture of your clothing or the smooth surface of a petal.
- Third, notice 3 things that you can hear. Listen for and notice things in the background that you don’t normally notice. It could be the birds chirping outside or a car engine whirring in the background.
- Fourth, notice 2 things you can smell. Bring attention to scents that you usually filter out. Catch a whiff of the pine trees outside or food cooking in the kitchen of a house that you walk past.
- Finally, notice 1 thing you can taste. Take a sip of a drink, eat a small snack, or notice the current taste in your mouth. Try to eat and drink mindfully, really taking in every sip and mouthful to notice and feels. You can also use your imagination to think of what something would taste like.
You might like to try some mindful eating together. It could be an after-school snack or an evening meal as a family. Mindful eating is all about paying attention to the sensations of eating, including smelling, tasting, chewing and swallowing. It can improve impulse control and support us to bring awareness to our sub conscious eating habits like eating too fast, whilst increasing our awareness of our body’s hunger and fullness signals.
First explore the food by smelling it, do you like the smell? How does it make you feel? Does it remind you of anything? Whilst smelling it, take a good look at it, can you notice any colours or patterns? Do you like the look of it? Does it look appetising? Pause to think about how you are feeling in this moment, hungry, excited, happy, calm...?
Next take the smallest bite, chewing slowly or letting it sit and melt on your tongue. What does it taste like? Is it smooth, rough, wet, juicy, slimy? Take another small bite, does the intensity of the food’s flavour change from moment to moment? Continue to take small bites making your food last as long as possible and savouring every moment and sensation.
Afterwards we check in with your body thinking about how you are feeling, are you feeling good? What did you like or not like about the experience? Did the food taste the same as it usually does or better?
You could try being mindful when having a bath or shower, listening to music or having some quiet time, cleaning or de-cluttering, having a cup of tea or a drink and when playing with the children and spending time together as a family.
There are so many ways to make mindfulness part of your family’s everyday routine and like everything, the more that you practice it, the easier it will become and talking from experience, it truly is a life changer!
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