· Strengthens self-control
· Lower’s anxiety and stress
· Increases positive moods
· Better decision making
· Improves Emotional Regulation Skills
· Increases self-esteem
· Improves Health and Body Image
· Improves social skills and communication
· Teaches kids the habit of focusing on the present moment and ignoring distractions
· Teaches them to stay calm in the face of life’s stressful times
· Creates good habits for the future
· Promotes happiness by lowering social anxiety and stress
· Promotes patience
· Paying full attention to something
· Slowing down to really notice what you are doing
· You take your time, the opposite of rushing ormulti-tasking
· You are focused in a relaxed, easy way
We shift our attention away from worried thoughts and concerns by guiding our awareness back to the here and now. Simple techniques such as breath awareness helps to ease the mind. Mindfulness practices also help to initiate the body’s relaxation response. As we breathe slowly and deeply, the fight-or-flight response begins to lessen and we move into a state of ease, both physically and mentally. Here are some additional mindful practices:
Meddy’s Mindful Moments
~ Ways to practice mindfulness ~
· Sit in lotus with a big smile on your face.
· Focus on your breathing. Sit up straight with your chest raised high and pay attention to your in breath and out breath. When your mind wonders away from your breathing, gently return your focus to your breath.
· Go for a walk in Nature. Take time to notice the way your feet hit the earth. Slow down your movements and really look at everything you see on your walk. What sights, sounds, and aromas are you aware of?
· Spend time with a furry friend. Notice how it feels to brush or pet the coat of your furry friend. Give the animal your full attention and enjoy their company.
· Spend time with a tree or plant. Stroke the leaves of a plant or run your hands over the bark of a tree. Mindfulness is being fully attentive to the smallest of details.
· Lay down in grass and feel the air and fresh aromas. Use your senses fully to appreciate each detail of the moment. Look up at the clouds, appreciating their form and movement.
· Experience mindful eating by placing your attention on the texture and smell of the food you eat. What does it feel like when each bite hits your tongue? What sounds do you hear? Take notice of what thoughts, emotions and bodily sensations you experience while you mindfully eat.
· Gratitude is a great way to slow things down andbe in the present moment. Try this exercise, scan the room you are in and find five things you are grateful for in the space. Gratitude allows us to focus our thoughts on what is good in our life, rather than what we think we lack in our life.
· Listen to birds sing. This is one of my favorite ways to be mindful. How many different songs do you hear? Are you listening to one bird or several? Does the singing change, or is repetitive?
· Look at a rainbow any chance you get. How do you feel when you see a rainbow? What colors do you see?
· At night, look up at the stars and moon. Do you see stars that twinkle? Can you find the Big Dipper?
· Spend time coloring or painting. This activity allows us to move away from our thoughts and focus on the moment moving our attention away from ourselves and into the present moment.
· Play a musical instrument. There are many benefits to playing a musical instrument. It reduces stress, produces patience and lessens anxiety and depression. Playing an instrument also moves your attention away from distracting or negative thoughts, to being in the present moment.
· Dancing. Dance frees us from our thinking minds as we shift our attention to our bodies. Dancing is a great way for children to get out of their heads and into their heart and the present moment.
· Listen to soothing music. Music has a huge impact on our brain and relaxing music actually makes us feel better. Beautiful harmonies and nature sounds trigger the release of serotonin and endorphin.Soothing music also helps us move away from thinking too much, to being in the present moment.
· Close your eyes. Closing your eyes is a great first step in bringing your awareness back to your mind and body. Closing your eyes is the way to retreat to your inner private world where it is calm and peaceful. While your eyes are closed, observe what you see, what you think about, and what you are feeling. Inside your mind is where you can begin to change your response to situations and where you can change the way you think.You can replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
· Witness a mini wonder. These are everywhere! It could be a spider spinning a web, ants carrying fragments of leaves to theirnest, or the transformation of the sky at dusk.
· Let out an emphatic ‘Aaaaaaaaaaah” or ‘Ommmmmmmmm.’ The vibration and deep breath will energize you and lifts that constricted feeling that settles in your chest after a stressful day.
· Observe moving water. This can be the sound of as low-moving river, the rhythmic sounds of the ocean, a babbling stream, or the sound of a fountain. This mindful activity is soothing and changes our brainwaves to a meditative state lowering our stress levels and anxiety.
· Observe a painting. Take a few moments to fully immerse yourself in a work of art. Observe all the intricate details and notice your thoughts and feelings while you examine the painting.
· Singing brings awareness to the moment as you take deep breaths and long exhales. Notice how the sound vibrates though your body and how the sound feels in your mouth, throat and chest. Then bask in the joy of the sounds and vibrations in your body.
· Observe your surroundings by using your five senses. What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you feel? What can you taste?
· Plushie/Meddy Teddy breathing. Place your favorite stuffed toy on your belly and gently place your hand on top of the toy. Observe your breathing by watching your favorite plush toy rise and fall with each breath.
· Place your hand over your heart. Focus your full attention on your heartbeat. You can also jump up and down or run in place to feel the change in your heartbeat. Putting your full attention on your heartbeat brings your attention and awareness to the present moment where you can express gratitude that you are alive and living in the here and now.