(Photo source via: http://www.monash.vic.gov.au)
Worry is normal when we are faced with uncertainty. It’s also important to understand that we can find ways to control our worry rather than allowing it to control us.
Here are five simple ways you can practice mindfulness with your children now:
1.Take five breathing:Sit down, close your eyes or look down and trace your hand with the index finger of your other hand. When you trace up, take a deep breath in; when you trace down, breathe out. Keep breathing and tracing until you have traced your whole hand. (Try this while you are washing your hands!) This practice is a great way to lower cortisol levels, which can spike when you are anxious or worried.
2.See, hear, feel:Sit down, close your eyes or look down. Start to notice your surroundings. What do you see, hear and feel in your body? Each time you notice something, you can silently label it “See,” “Hear” or “Feel.” Try that for a few minutes. This practice can help you come back to the present moment when you feel anxious.
3.Mindful eating:Try to eat something and really pay attention to it with all of your senses. What does it look like, sound like, smell like, feel like, taste like? Try to eat it really slowly and notice everything about it. This practice can help you to slow down, stay in the present moment and feel gratitude for food.
4.Heartfulness:Sit quietly, close your eyes or look down. Give yourself a little hug and think “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful.” Then think about somebody you care about and then about everyone in the world. (This is another great thing to do while you are washing your hands.) This practice can make us feel kinder and gentler toward ourselves and others. It can remind us that we are connected to everyone in the world and that we all want the same basic things — health, happiness and peace. I encourage my students to take that feeling of compassion and do something to help. Helping others is a surefire way to get us out of our own heads and out of the prison of worry. Finding ways to show people that we love them is a way that we can all feel more connected in these scary times.
5.Remote-control breathing:Sit quietly, close your eyes or look down. Take three deep breaths. Try to count 10 normal breaths. If you notice that your mind wandered, just note that and start counting your breaths again. You might have to keep bringing your attention back to your breath, and that’s fine.
Stay connected with us by finding more ways to practice mindfulness, speak with your children about COVID-19 and use mindful movement and other practices to cope during this uncertain time.