Mindfulness and Meditation as tools for calming and focus

Mindfulness is a meditation practise that begins with paying attention to your breath in order to focus on the present, instead of focusing on the past- your worries or concerns, and the what-ifs of life.

When stress makes you anxious, tense and worried, you can try meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace. Meditation is for all people and anyone can practice it. It's simple and inexpensive, and it doesn't require any special equipment.

And you can practice meditation wherever and whenever you want— when you are out for a walk, on the bus, waiting for an appointment or at your desk at work. When you practise mindfulness, you clear away the stress that builds up throughout the day.

The emotional benefits of mindfulness are:

  • Increasing self-awareness

  • Focusing on the present

  • Reducing negative emotions

  • Increasing Gratitude

  • Increasing imagination and creativity

  • Increasing patience and tolerance

  • Thinking about a new perspective on stressful situations

  • Better sleep

How can mindfulness help my child?

For children, mindfulness exercises can help them to develop self-awareness, to pay better attention and to concentrate. They can help children decrease anxiety, to calm down when upset, and it helps them to handle overwhelming emotions calmly.

Features of mindfulness and meditation

Some of the most common features in meditation:

Focused attention.

Focusing your attention helps free your mind from the distractions that cause stress and worry. Ways to help to focus your attention can be to focus on a specific object, an image, a mantra, or your breathing.

Relaxed breathing. This is when you practice, even-paced breathing using the diaphragm muscle to expand your lungs. When working with children we call this belly breathing. It is important that we teach them to slow their breathing, as this allows them to take in more oxygen.

Find a quiet space. Meditating is easier when you're in a quiet spot with few distractions.

When you first start with children they may initially find it hard to quieten themselves but are usually quick to calm and enjoy the salience.

·A comfortable position. You can practice meditation whether you're sitting, lying down or walking. The key is to be comfortable so that you can get the most out of your meditation while also keeping good posture.

Open attitude. Trying to still your mind can be exceptionally difficult for some of us! Try and let thoughts pass through your mind without judgment.

Everyday ways to practice mindfulness and meditation.

You can practice meditation easily on your own as you can make it as formal or informal as you like. It's easy to build meditation into your daily routine.

Here are some ways you can practice meditation on your own:

Breathe deeply.

Focus your attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.

Scan your body. Start at the top or bottom of your body and work your way through as you focus your attention to the different parts of your body. Be aware of your body's sensations, whether that's pain, tension, warmth or relaxation.

Walk and meditate. Slow down your walking pace so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating words in your mind such as "moving" and "stepping”, or you may count as you lift your feet.

In the Shower. Water is a great way to renew yourself so while showering just notice the water as it trickles over your body. Take a moment to be grateful that you have hot, running water.

Falling asleep I'm sure it's not what it was intended for but if I am struggling to fall asleep I will often put on a guided meditation to help me unwind and calm my body and mind so I can sleep- works wonders!

Focus your love and gratitude. This is my favourite way to start the day. Focus your feelings of love, compassion and gratitude into your thoughts. Think about the people you have in your life and surround them with loving thoughts.

Guided Meditations. There are so many apps, podcast and even music that you can listen to that will help you calm and focus your mind. Experiment and see what works best for you.


Podcasts:

The Mindful Minute https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/meryl-arnett/the-mindful-minute

Mindfulness Mode https://mindfulnessmode.com/

Meditation Station https://open.spotify.com/show/0lgpFZuLdBrCorIv3dUaRh

Happier With Gretchen Rubin https://gretchenrubin.com/podcasts/

Headspace https://www.headspace.com/sleep/sleepcasts


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