Tag Archives: Family

Mindfulness for Kids

2 May

Mindfulness is usually reserved for adults, but it does not have to be. Children of all ages experience stress and tension physically, the inability to focus or concentrate, as well as distressing emotions (i.e anxiety, anger, sadness). The great thing about children is that they can adapt easily to mindfulness as well.

You may be asking, what is mindfulness? How can I get my child to sit still long enough to practice? The best way to conceptualize mindfulness is the ability to be present and to be in the here and the now. It is a way of observing, describing, and fully engaging in the moment. Now, how can we get our children to fully engage in the moment? Here are some techniques:

 1. Be mindful of the breath: Observing the breath is the simplest way to start mindfulness. For example, if I tell you to not think of the color red, you are definitely going to think of the color red. So if you help the child think about breathing, it will be easier for them to focus on their breath. If you have younger children, right before bed have them get their favorite stuffed animal. Encourage them to rock their toy to sleep. Have them place the toy on their belly and as they take deep breaths in and out, they will create a wave of relaxation for themselves and their favorite toy! Your child will have a nice sleep and their first lesson in mindfulness.

2. Be mindful at school: Homework can be a trying and frustrating task for many children and parents. Be mindful that your child is learning this information for the first time and focusing long enough on something that may not be fun as playing their video game or watching TV, can make it difficult for them to concentrate. Before engaging the homework assignment, take 4 deep breaths counting to 4 and then begin the work. You can breathe in pairs, such as Inhale… Exhale one. Inhale… Exhale two. The child’s job is to stay concentrated in spite of everything else going on around them.

3. Make it a family Affair: Studies show that children are more mindful if their parents are more mindful. I suggest parents practice with your children. Often times, we rush with all the things we have to get done in the day, but slowing down is very beneficial so that you can pay attention. At meal time, be mindful of the food with your child; what it smells like? Feels like? Tastes like? Sounds like? Before rushing out of the house in the morning, take 4 deep breaths as a family and then head out to the car. If you are driving home from school and work, challenge your child to a song duo where you both know the lyrics, and see who can sing it the craziest and the juiciest! The point is to be creative and have you and your child become more mindful each day.

Overall, mindfulness can be what you make it for you and your child. It can be as entertaining, raw, and spontaneous as you can come up with. I encourage you to live your life fully; embracing the moments you can create.

As always, I wish you peace and light on your wellness journey,

Evanye Lawson, MA, NCC, LAPC, CHT
Holistic Counselor

Do you like this article and want to reprint or share? You can, as long as you include this in its entirety: Evanye Lawson is a  Holistic Counselor who specializes in working with children and teens at Vision Works Counseling and Coaching. Evanye also leads a Mindfulness kids group on Saturday morning.  Set up your personal appointment at  www.visionworkscc.com today or contact her at (404)913-4450.

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9 Keys to Refresh your Spirit

22 Oct
Over the years I have come to believe that we all need quiet time. We require quiet time to refresh and renew our spirits. Many times our daily lives are over packed with work, family obligation and other routine things. Then one day you wake up and realized you are stressed, angry and discontented with life.  The question I am often asked is  “ How do I start? “ , “ How do I build in time for myself when all my time seems to be allocated to others?”  These are all very good questions to ask ones self.  But where there is a will there is way.
I discovered a few years ago that real living takes place in the “White space “ of everyday life. I define white space as that down time when nothing particular is happening and you are just free to be or do what ever you like. A vacation could be considered white space. Depending on how it is scheduled. But most importantly you do not have to travel to get this “ White space”.  You can have this beautiful block of time in your schedule right now!
 
Here are a few tips on adding white space to your life:
  1.  Make your commute to work a peaceful oasis. Listen to calm relaxing music or soulful spiritual music that pumps you up for a great day. Limit phone calls during this time so that you can focus on the road and be fully present in the moment.
  2. Take a walk on your lunch break. Instead of going to the mall or out to lunch put on your walking shoes and do a few laps around the building. Notice the beauty of the trees and flowers. Start a practice of being  aware of the present moment.
  3. Take regular wellness days off from work. Yes…You have my permission to pull out your calendar and schedule a day off to just relax. On these days you might go to a museum or watch your favorite programs. Remember that it’s okay to take care of yourself when you are well. In turn you will rarely get sick and be more productive at work and home.
  4. Space your children’s activities out. They need a break and so do you. It’s wonderful to expose your kids to all sorts of activities and programs but too much is overwhelming for your schedule and theirs as well. Work to schedule extra curricular activities that fit in seamlessly with your schedule such as after school programs.
  5. Register and attend a weekly activity just for yourself. Yoga, running, belly dancing or mediation are just a few  activities that calm and soothe the mind and body. There are so many great things to choose from. Choose something you like and try it out for 5 weeks are so. Then pick something else. Keeping your life fun and balanced is one sure way to live a life worth living.
  6. Get out of the Corporate hustle. I know it’s your livelihood. Ask yourself am I really fulfilled by this position? Does this career allow me to lead a balanced life? Sometimes taking a step back is actually a step up in keeping your sanity in a crazy world. Make sure you make career decisions based on your values and not out of fear. If you are not quite sure how to implement this step talk with someone who can help you transition to a position that fits your life.
  7. Plan a hour each day where you can just relax. This may be in the morning before your family starts to stir or in the evening when everyone is gone to bed. Set aside a specific time where you can write in your journal, meditate and pray. It’s amazing what happens when we take the time to be still.
  8. Step away from Social media for a while so that you can balance your life. Many times we think that social media does not take up a lot of our time. But it does.  Step away for a day and see how productive you are. Now start using that time to practice relaxation techniques or mindful living.
  9. Have a stress reliever strategy. What do you do when you are stressed? Have a difficult decision to make? Taking some quiet time will help you to ease your worries and fears while focusing on a solution. Many times we make a rushed decision only later to regret it. Having free time to think a situation over will help you to stay calm and committed to your values.

Now that you have some ideas on how to incorporate  “ white space “ into your everyday life. Pull out your calendar and begin to plan your refreshing mini-escapes today. Soon you will be more relaxed and ready to fully embrace your life. 

As always, I wish you peace and joy on your wellness journey,

Melisa Alaba
Vision Coach

Do you like this article and want to reprint or share? You can, as long as you include this in its entirety: Melisa Alaba is a Life Coach and Counselor. Melisa founded Vision Works Counseling and Coaching to empower and inspire you to live your best life. Melisa helps her clients to discover their vision and purpose for life by providing holistic and traditional coaching methods. Melisa specializing in helping her clients; heal from brokenness, find balance in their personal or work life, improve  family life, revive a dream or to let go of past issues. Set up your personal appointment at  www.visionworkscc.com today.

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