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Learning mindfulness from our children

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Learning mindfulness from our children

As mamas, our lives are in a constant state of flux. We multitask and unconsciously shift from one thing to another as we work through our to-do list and routine.

We often only observe the bigs things and rarely stop to appreciate the little things.

Do you believe we were born to multitask, or that it is a result of the ‘on-demand’ society we find ourselves a part of?

Do you see your child multitasking? No. The science would suggest that we were not born to multitask and that in actual fact most of us are pretty dam bad at it.

Researchers have found that on average, people switch activities every three minutes throughout the day. This sounds about right for a bizy mama.

They have found that as humans we are pretty good at ‘balancing tasks’ that use unrelated mental and physical resources, for instance we can pretty effortlessly go for a walk whilst listening to a podcast. It’s when we start to make things more complicated, like trying to work on our laptop whilst our babes run havoc in the house that our productivity levels drop significantly and we start making mistakes. Our stress levels become elevated and we quickly head into burn out territory.

But what if I told you that there was a better way? To still get everything you need done, in less time and won’t leave you flustered.

Our kids are naturally gifted with it. Mindfulness. And thus they are our greatest teachers.

According to world renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Stephan Bodian, children are naturally gifted with mindfulness. Just notice how a baby becomes enthralled by the sensory experience of touching a piece of fruit or a toy, or how a toddler explores a bug in the yard. Precisely because much of what they experience is actually new to them, they have an abundance of what’s called “beginner’s mind,” the ability to experience each moment freshly, as if for the first time. Beginner’s mind is a quality that adult meditators strive to cultivate but young children have in abundance.

So how can we as mamas thrive in the modern world, using mindfulness techniques. Here’s 3 ways:

Mindfulness practices

Mindful breathing

  • Close your eyes and follow your breath as it moves in and out of the body.
  • Without trying to change the breath in any way, simply notice its presence.
  • Notice things such as how shallow or deep your breath is.
  • Notice if your naturally breathing in and out through your nose, or if you need to breathe out through the mouth.
  • Notice the sensations in the body as you breathe in & out.
  • Are there areas of tension and tightness with each breath.

This type of practice will help you tune into how your body is feeling, and allow you to notice any imbalances that you can address with other practices.

Mindful observation

  • Take a moment to sit and observe your little one.
  • Simply observe them. This exercise is designed to connect you with their space.
  • Don’t do anything except notice them. Relax into a harmony for as long as your concentration or your little one allows.
  • Look at them as if you were seeing them for the first time.
  • Visually explore every aspect of them.
  • Allow yourself to be consumed by their presence.
  • Allow yourself to connect with their energy and their place in this world.

This practice will help you shift your awareness into the present moment, aligning your energy with your babes and seeing the world almost through their eyes.

Mindful listening

  • Close your eyes and draw your awareness to the sounds around you.
  • Start by noticing the sound which is most present. Without needing to label any of the sounds, simply notice.
  • Slowly notice each sound that you can hear, from loudest to softest.
  • Allow yourself to become consumed by each sound before moving to the next one.

This practice will allow you to rest your energy in the present moment. Calming the nervous system & tuning into your surroundings.

What do you do to practice mindfulness? We’d love to know any practices you do and the benefits. Leave a comment below.