I wanted to hit my sister, so I took some deep breaths and I didn’t hit her. The air from your breath is killing all the bad things that are making you mad. If I breathe 3 times, the bad stuff is going to go away.
– 3rd grader in afterschool program.
This young person is speaking to the brain science behind mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness regularly, even for 2 minutes at a time, can literally shift how grey matter grows in the brain to reduce the effects of chronic stress and increase our functioning physically, cognitively and emotionally. Wanna get started?
Here are 5 ways to help your daughter calm her mind using mindfulness.
- Mindful Breathing: Practice having mindful bodies- Straight back, Be still, Be silent, Shut eyes orlook at the ground in front of you and soft breath. Pay attention to your breath for 2 minutes and see how you feel after.
- Mindful Drawing: Make a mandala by drawing a circle and filling it up with shapes, scribbles, images or words. Circles are a safe place to hold big feelings.
- Mindful Walking: Take a walk somewhere in nature- even if that means the trees along your street. Pay attention to the ground under your feet as you walk. Notice and label what’s around you- leaves, birds, dogs playing, etc. Focusing on external beauty can calm the chatter in our brains.
- Mindful Dancing: Take a quiet moment to breathe and notice how your bodies are feeling. Does anything feel tight or stressed? What thoughts are coming up? Does she notice any sensations like cold, tingly or itchy? Now put on your favorite song and dance around the house- the sillier the better. Move for the whole song, copying each other’s dance moves. Then check back in to see your bodies feel afterward.
- Mindful Snack: Before you take a bite of that favorite afterschool snack, take a moment to really look at it. What colors and textures do you see? How does it feel in your hand or move on the plate. Imagine what it will taste like and try to experience the taste even before you take that first bite. Chew super slowly, savoring every taste. Talk to each other about the food you are eating. Check in with your belly to notice when you are full. Being mindful about how we nurture our bodies is a great way to nurture our minds!
And here’s some more good stuff…
- We’re big fans of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Read this article about teaching mindfulness to kids.
- Here’s the free mindfulness app that Allison references in the video above
- AND there’s a bunch of great info about the brain science behind mindfulness at the Mindfulness Research Guide
This post is #3 of 25 Tips to Teach Your Daughter to Respect Herself, Command Respect, and Respect Others. Wanna make sure you get all 25 Tips for Bullying Awareness Month? CLICK HERE and we’ll send ’em right to your email!
For more incredible Go Girls! resources for helping your girl stay safe, happy, and healthy in her relationships, check out Kidpower and get your copy of Starring Celia.