Meditation allows you to live in the moment, to calm yourself, to regulate your breathing, to help visualise your successes and to help you focus your attention on the “good” in your life. You can meditate anywhere at any time (you do not have to sit in the lotus position chanting “Om” in your designer gym wear) and it can be done in as little as one minute with a one-minute breathing meditation. See my last article “Just Breathe” for instructions on how to do this.
There are many different types of meditation including Mindfulness, Guided Meditations and even Mandala Colouring, all of which have proven successful in helping to manage, prevent and cope with a range of mental and physical health problems including stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness games and meditations are another great resource especially for our younger ones. For some mindfulness games that will help keep your kids in the moment, like in the car on the way to a medical appointment or in the waiting room, please see my previous article “Mindfulness Games for Kids”.
A Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a great tool for any age and another one that is particularly effective used at night before sleep to help ensure a restful slumber. Simply breathe in and tense your feet muscles, breathe out and release the muscles, release the tension. Breathe in and tense your calf muscles, breathe out and release the muscles, release the tension. Continue up the body finishing with a whole body tense and release. This is a great exercise to teach our kids some emotional regulation as it enables them to realise what their body feels like when it is relaxed as opposed to stressed or tense. For our highly anxious kids, feeling relaxed can actually feel abnormal and they will fight that feeling with all of their being. Script this for them at first so as they can just relax into it without worrying about what happens next. A script can be found here.
The word “Mandala” loosely translates to mean “circle”. Simply put on some of your favourite relaxation music and just colour in or draw a mandala. Just let your mind wander as you intuitively choose the right colours or patterns. Drawing and colouring in these circular patterns are a great meditative tool allowing the mind to relax and to wonder where it needs to go. Think back to the “olden days” when we used to draw or doodle whilst on the phone. You know back in the day where the only phones we had were attached to a wall or countertop. We actually sat in one spot for more than a minute, not cooking or cleaning whilst chatting on our mobile phones of today, but sitting still and scribbling on the paper in front of us whilst we talked. I remember coming up with some marvellous pieces drawn subconsciously whilst chatting away. Pieces that were filled with lines, colours and strokes that I could not remember drawing.
This activity is also a great one to do with your kids at night time, after dinner before the wind down for bed. In fact, any sort of colouring in or drawing works well at this time for our kids.
With meditations that can be done anywhere at any time (think vacuuming or cleaning the toilet which are favourite times of mine to let my mind wander) why not give it a go. The more you practise the easier it will be to slip off into your favourite happy place, taking charge of your stress and anxiety whilst also allowing a little “me time”.
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