While researching his book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferris interviewed over 200 of the world’s most successful thought leaders, creatives, business people, and athletes. They had different backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, GPAs, and IQs. The one thing that over 80 percent of them did have in common was a daily mindset and mindfulness practice.
What is it about mindfulness that enhances our ability to be healthy, happy, and thriving? According to a Harvard study, it’s not about being spiritual or becoming zen. Instead, the reason is extremely practical: Mindfulness improves our ability to regulate our emotions.
In her TEDx Talk, “Why Mindfulness Should be as Important as Math in Our Schools,” Jennifer Grace explains, “The problem is that today kids are in a constant state of stress and they don’t have the tools to elicit a relaxation response. They have similar stress to what we had —passing tests, being liked at school— and they have additional stress like cyberbullying, exposure to video game violence, and active-shooter drills, which do nothing more than traumatize already anxious kids.”
She implores that it is time children have access to mindfulness skills so that they “get that they matter, and they can silence the chatter that says ‘I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m never going to succeed.’”
Three Mindfulness Practices to Share With Your Daughter
“Mindful kids will change our world.” —Jennifer Grace
In simple terms, mindfulness is the ability to create space between thoughts and emotions and your responses to them. It allows you to witness and observe your inner world with curiosity and enhances your capacity to accept the present moment exactly as it is, without being overwhelmed by it.
Meditation is a tool for achieving mindfulness with emotional regulation (navigating difficult emotions and consciously responding rather than reflexively reacting to triggers) being the result.
Practice One: Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is effective for children because it requires you to lie down and listen rather than sit up straight and have the discipline to guide yourself.
This free 30-minute guided Yoga Nidra practice was designed for kids. Press “play,” lie down on the bed together, and listen. Additionally, here is another approach specifically for learning to sit with and navigate difficult emotions, and its advanced language is more suitable for teens.
Yoga Nidra practice shifts your nervous system from “fight and flight” to “rest and reset.” It also teaches you how to sit with difficult emotions and sensations to move beyond them. Proven benefits of regular Yoga Nidra include relief from depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and post-traumatic stress injury.
Practice Two: The Breath And Senses As Anchors
No matter what’s happening in your life, if you’re anchored in the present moment, you remain connected to the reality that right now, you are fundamentally okay.
When your core belief is such, your physiology follows suit. Your thoughts support this belief, and your body sensation and emotions remain peaceful. In other words, you stay emotionally regulated.
Focusing your attention on your breath and five senses effectively cultivates mindfulness and inner peace. They anchor us in the present moment. You’re breathing right now, and your senses are taking in information at this moment. This five-minute meditation is a good starting point for teens and children. It’s short, easy to follow along, and can be done throughout the day, whenever the need arises.
Practice Three: The Work By Byron Katie
The Work is a free meditative journaling practice of self-inquiry. It enables you to question any thought that is causing you suffering to realize that it is untrue. It teaches you that thoughts are not facts and helps you dissolve negative core beliefs (which are just thoughts you think often). The book Tiger Tiger Is It True? is designed to teach the practice to younger children.
“Thoughts in your head are really no different than the sound of a bird outside. It’s just that you decide that they are more or less relevant.” —Adyashanti
Written by Roxana Bouwer
Top image by Monstera from Pexels