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Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, bodily sensations, feelings, and surrounding environment. It is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. It’s a quality that every human being already possesses; sometimes you just have to learn how to access it effectively.
So what are the benefits of mindfulness?
Improving your general well-being including your physical and mental health are just a few benefits of being mindful. Practicing mindfulness can help us feel more fulfilled and allows us to enjoy life to a greater degree. Children, who are less cynical than adults, are naturally quite mindful but it’s also something that parents can cultivate. Read on for some tips from an independent school junior in Kent.
You can start with something as simple as breathing – ask your child to sit comfortably and close their eyes. Teach them to really pay attention to their breathing, focusing on the sensation of the air going in and out of their body. Encourage your child to put their hands on their tummy to observe how it moves up and down with each breath. Do this for 6 – 8 inhales and exhales and then ask your child to describe how they are feeling.
Try going for a walk and talking to each other about what you can see, hear, smell and feel in your surroundings. Are there any new things that they haven’t noticed before?
Bedtime is the perfect time to practice mindfulness with your children. It can even be used as a technique to try and help them drift off to sleep more easily. Once they are lying comfortably ask them to close their eyes and gradually observe different areas of their body starting at their feet and working right up to the top of their head. What feelings do they have in each part of their body and how does their body feel against the bed?
Many people find that by making time for mindfulness in their daily routine they can increase their focus, achieve a calmer presence and improve and their overall wellbeing. For children this exercise is particularly helpful for increasing emotional resilience and developing important life skills.
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