What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a term that we hear used all the time in our ever increasingly health and wellness focused society. In fact, it is quite difficult to open a magazine, turn on the TV or read a health and wellness blog without learning about the latest mindfulness technique taking the world by storm.
To me, mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment – fully engaged. It is about being 100% in the here and now, not worrying about what has happened in the past or thinking about what is going to happen in the future. To be mindful is the art of being aware of what is happening both internally and externally. We have to be able to acknowledge our current situation without passing any judgment whatsoever on what is happening.
When putting this into practice as a parent, and in turn fostering mindful parenting, we can create an environment for our children filled with empathy, acceptance and self awareness. And, as with most behaviours viewed by children, the more we can showcase this skill ourselves the more our little ones will mirror our conduct.
Some of my favourite ways to bring mindfulness into the home include:
- Putting my phone down, switching off the TV and unplugging the iPad. It is so easy to waste hours on end with technology.
- Establishing a regular family mindfulness practice. This can be as easy as sitting together and undertaking breathing exercises. Even just for a minute or two. Being able to sit still and breath is not only an amazing stress relief for both big and little ones it is an amazingly simply mindfulness technique that you can do together as a family.
- Going for a walk in the garden, lying in the grass and watching the clouds or just sitting and listening to the birds chirping in the backyard. Be intentional and conscious of the environment around you. Feel, touch, listen, see. You’ll be amazed at how many different things you will notice.