26 May A Guide to Practicing Mindfulness
By: Jordan Kaufman
Did you know that all it takes to practice mindfulness is a few minutes a day, an open mind, and a dedication to incorporating self-care in your daily routine? This week, Jordan Kaufman, daughter of Dr. Jonathan Kaufman from Pediatric Associates of Barrington and a certified yoga instructor and master’s candidate in Expressive Arts Therapy (a branch of social work), was kind enough to share some quick tips for all the busy parents out there to take a few moments to practice mindfulness each day. These are all methods that can be very beneficial for your kids, too!
- Take a deep breath (literally!) Big bellies are good bellies! Try breathing deeply into the belly (diaphragmatic breathing), with the belly rising on the inhale and falling on the exhale. For kids, it can be helpful to use a visual. Imagine breathing in by smelling a flower and breathing out by blowing out a candle. You can also use a count to regulate breathing. View an example exercise here.
- Get moving! We hold our experience in the body. To ease some of this stress, try literally shaking everything out from head to toe. Yoga is brilliantly designed to work with the systems of the body to regulate and balance, or you can go for a walk, choose other rhythmic activities (such as walking to music or dancing), or play a game with your family that gets you all up and moving.
- Make and keep a routine. Predictability helps encourage safety. Find a structure that is flexible and consistent!.
- Make space for feelings. They are there, whether we like it or not. Practice acceptance. Practice naming emotions and identifying how they feel in the body. Encourage feeling into those sensations and breathing. Recognize that this can be difficult, and that is okay.
- Practice gratitude. Try picking 3 “what went well” things at the end of the day, and share what you enjoy about others.
Try picking a few that resonate with you and focus on consistency. These times are challenging, and we are all being tested. This is an opportunity for us to build strong habits of care and resilience. Be kind to yourself and take it one breath at a time.