In my last post, I discussed the incredible benefits of mindfulness for moms. To follow that, I wanted to provide you with some simple and practical mindfulness exercises for parents so you can start making it part of your routine and taking advantage of all it has to offer.
Mindfulness can seem like something that is completely unobtainable or overwhelming, but my goal is to show you that the tools of mindfulness are available to everyone, and not as complicated as you might think.
You don’t need to spend 20 minutes every day meditating to reap the benefits of mindfulness. In fact, none of the exercises in this post involve meditation at all (even though meditating is a great habit to start!).
I am confident that even the busiest parents can carve out time in their day for at least one of these. The best part? most of the suggestions don’t require any extra time at all, just that you are more intentional with the time you already have.
So let’s dive in to these 5 simple mindfulness exercises so you can start experiencing all the benefits they can offer you.
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Perhaps the most simple exercise in this list is taking deep, slow breaths. Breathe in for a count of three and out for a count of five. Make sure your exhale is longer than your inhale.
I take 3 deep breaths anytime that I notice my stress levels are rising. It is a great way to calm the nervous system and works almost like magic. If deep breathing is not already part of your routine, start by anchoring it to something that you already do.
One of my favorite podcasts suggests doing this anytime that you take your car keys out of the ignition. I also take a few breaths anytime I come to a stop light while driving.
Gratitude is a great way to bring your attention to something positive and remind you of all the blessings in your life. It is especially beneficial to do this if it has been a particularly challenging day. You can read more about the amazing benefits of gratitude here.
To start a gratitude practice, you can spend a few minutes writing down 3 things you are grateful for. I think writing it out is beneficial, but if you are pressed for time, even just reflecting on something you are grateful for can work.
Choose A Time To Be Fully Present
The greatest gift you can give your child is your presence. Choose a time of day and set an intention to be fully present with your child. You may want to consider one of the three most important parts of your child’s day. No electronics, no distractions.
Bring your full awareness to the present moment, and if your mind starts to wander to other thoughts, try to let them go and then bring your focus back to your child.
**Side note: don’t worry if your mind wanders, this is totally normal and to be expected. Just keep working on bringing your attention back when you notice it.
I like to do this while I’m putting my kids to bed. I spend a few minutes snuggling and talking to each of them individually. They know that they have my full attention. It’s a time that all of us truly treasure.
Designate “No Phone Times”
It is so easy to let our phones and devices take over our whole day. With so much information just a Google search away, it can be really hard to step away. But having intentional times of the day where you put your phone away is a great way to stay present.
If you struggle with putting your phone down, make it harder for yourself to actually use it. You could unfollow people on Facebook (read about my experience doing that here), delete time-sucking apps, turn off your data, or keep it in a completely different room. Try different things and see what works.
In addition to being more present, it is very important to me to model healthy electronics habits to my kids. I don’t want them to be glued to a screen when they are teenagers, and I also don’t want them to think that my phone is more important than spending time with them. Not to mention I have noticed that I am much more irritable after I spend time mindlessly scrolling my phone.
That is why I try and limit my phone usage when they are around. For my own personal boundaries, I do not bring my phone into the bedroom or to the table during meals. I also try not to touch my phone at all in the mornings until the kids go to school (even though I sometimes will listen to a podcast as part of my morning routine).
Think about ways you can limit your phone and device usage and start making it a habit.
Pay Attention To Your Reactions
This exercise will seem hard at first. Once we get into our lizard brain, it can be hard to step out, and if you usually lean into anger (like me), it will take some practice. But don’t give up!
If your child does something that triggers you, recognize that you have been triggered and pause, take a breath and assess the situation. Doing this allows you to see the bigger picture and respond in a way that has a more positive outcome.
The more you practice noticing your reactions, the less reactive you will become and the more effective your parenting will be. It is a great way to manage your anger.
Hopefully after reading through these mindfulness exercises you are feeling more confident about making mindfulness work for you. You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk in order to benefit from mindfulness, you can start small by using these quick and easy suggestions and learn to become calmer and more centered.
Mindfulness Book Suggestions:
Want more book suggestions? Check out my suggestions for Personal Development Books to help you create a life you love!
The post Mindfulness For Parents | 5 Quick & Easy Mindfulness Exercises appeared first on Mama Finds Her Way.