Today is the day that I was going to start a series of mindfulness workshops for families in a church hall in South West London.
Sadly this can no longer happen, so I thought I would take pen to paper instead and share some thoughts and a mindful activity for you to practice with your children.
Coronavirus has brought with it an inescapable day-to-day life where we have had no choice but to be at home together with those that we love.
Before this pandemic happened many of the families I was seeing were living lives that were overwhelmingly busy.
Constantly doing in every area of their lives meant that they had no time to stop and stare and sometimes almost forgot to breathe!
Everyone seemed to be wanting more and then some more and with so much taking and not enough giving many families struggled with feelings of anxiety from being overwhelmed by just too much.
Lockdown is a good time to face up to what is really important in life
In amongst the ups and downs of working at home, home school, uncertainty and worry this extraordinary time has given us all a moment to reflect on what is really important.
The same families that I talked to before now share many of the same experiences about the good things that this strange time has bought with it.
Laughter, cooking, baking, walking together, playing together, biking together, children getting involved without being asked, family meals, family games, mums and dads at home, no rush, no pressure, less anxiety, shared experiences, genuine connection and above all proper time together.
Children are most definitely missing their extended families, their all-important friends, their teachers and school life too but somehow, they, like their parents are finding ways to keep in touch.
From writing letters to hand delivering cup-cakes and cards to having Zoom calls they are finding ways to show kindness to those they miss.
We’re picking up good habits – but we need to keep them up
So, how can we carry on keeping simply connected when things return to some sense of ‘normality’?
One way would be to bring some daily mindful practice into your homes.
Mindfulness has proven to alter the physical structure of the brain in a process know as neuroplasticity. Studies have found that regular mindfulness practice causes changes in the prefrontal cortex that makes it easier for the brain to process positive emotions and thoughts.
An important skill for happiness now and in the future is to try and focus our attention in the present moment.
Let’s start with some Rainbow breathing
As rainbows have become an important symbol of this time for children and adults alike let’s start with some simple rainbow breathing.
First draw or paint a rainbow, then find a quiet peaceful place.
Then try some mindful breathing with the help of a rainbow.
- Put your finger at the bottom of the rainbow.
- Breathe in through your nose and trace the red arc until you reach the top.
- When you reach the top, begin to exhale through your mouth and continue tracing.
- Repeat with each colour or until feeling calm and grounded.