Life is busy and particularly in a family with two working parents and the demands of balancing all of the families’ activities. Keeping track of which after school activities children are attending, homework and which day sports kit is needed can seem like a nightmare on top of feeding the family, keeping a home in order and holding down a job too.  It’s no wonder that most parents – and often older children – don’t live in the here and now, they’re always reviewing what’s gone or planning what’s to come. That’s where mindfulness can make a huge difference.

What is Mindfulness?

It’s about being fully present and aware of what you are doing.   It’s almost like meditation, focusing on being in the moment, aware of your breath going in and out and each part of your body relaxing.  You are completely focused on just being. This slows down the busy-ness of your mind and stops your brain galloping off to plan tomorrow’s menu or work out when you’ll have time to fill the car up with petrol. It can be challenging to learn to quieten that busy brain, but, with practice, it gets easier. Some people use tools like adult colouring books to help them to focus on what’s happening right now. Mindfulness practice is good for all members of the family, although it’s probably not a good idea to have group mindfulness sessions.  Ten minutes a day can make a significant difference, clearing the mind and relaxing the body. If you’re struggling with it there are plenty of free apps to help.  Take a look at: Mindbell: you can set this to chime randomly throughout the day to remind you to be mindful right now.  You can also set up a meditation period with bells chiming during the meditation at set periods – so, for instance, you can set up a ten minute meditation with a countdown to the start to allow you to get comfortable, then bells at say three minutes, seven minutes and at the end. Headspace: this is a narrated meditation where a voice takes you through a relaxation process, sitting properly, closing your eyes and being aware of your breath going in and out.  This helps you to block out what’s happening around you and let’s you focus on one key thing that’s important. There are many others, these are just examples.

What will mindfulness do for you?

It improves your clarity of thought. It can reduce high blood pressure. It can help to reduce stress headaches. It gives you a feeling of being in control. It’s an excellent practice for older children, especially as they approach critical exams.  Teach them the habit young and give them a gift for life.