Mindfulness is an acquired ability to focus on the immediate present. While that may seem like something everyone does as a matter of course, the truth is that our brains are constantly shifting from one thought to the next, in endless loops of worry, self-doubt, and anxiety. We rarely focus on the here and now, and as John Lennon so famously quoted, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Being able to draw your thoughts back to what you are experiencing in the present moment
relieves a myriad of psychological hardships. Stress, depression, and anxiety are all ameliorated by reducing our tendency to live primarily in the past or in obsessing about the future.
The practice of mindfulness, however, can take some getting used to. The older we get, the
harder it is to train our minds to suspend judgment and examine what we are thinking about or what our bodies might be trying to tell us. The sooner we learn, the sooner we can experience the soothing benefits of mindful awareness.
You’re Never Too Young to Learn
Teaching mindfulness techniques to young children has proven to be extremely effective in
calming tempers, reducing crying jags and nourishing happy babies. Some schools have started teaching mindfulness to children as young as 7 or 8 and the results have been quite astonishing. The children have become much more compassionate towards each other and there has been a significant drop in bullying and aggressive behaviors. They’ve learned to pause before reacting, and there has been a noticeable drop in overall stress levels in the classroom.
Teenagers have also benefitted from being more present in their own lives, and those who
practice mindfulness report having a much easier time than their peers in coping with changing bodies, stress, and depression.
Babies are incredibly intuitive and will naturally mimic the mood or pace of their environment. Begin to teach your baby about mindfulness by practicing a few techniques of peaceful awareness yourself. Take a “brain break” at regular intervals throughout the day, giving yourself space to quiet your mind and focus more intently on what you’re doing. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and enjoy the unstructured quiet of the moment.
The best thing you can do to foster your baby’s innate joy in the world is to slow down. For your baby, every sight, sound, and smell is new, intriguing and wondrous. Let them take as long as they need to touch a flower or examine the dirt in the playground. Hold them to the window and point to the clouds, the sun or the rain. Let them touch, smell and taste the food as you’re making a meal, and be prepared to be as engrossed as they are with the little bumps on a strawberry. Your baby will return the gift by reminding you of what a simple delight it is to see the world through the curious eyes of a child.
Share Your Mindful Suggestions
If you have a favorite mindful awareness tip that you use with your little one, we’d love to
hear about it. Email us by clicking the envelop icon in the menu bar above. You can read more the best methods for raising mindful and happy babies here: (insert link mindful methods article here)
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