Mindfulness and talk about being present has been popularised everywhere.
As a counsellor I strongly advocate for mindfulness-based practices – but what does this actually mean for parents seeking to infuse this in amongst daily realities.
As I write this blog post, we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. People are staying home and with that comes so many layers; adjusting to change, isolation from friends and family or perhaps now also trying to juggle educating or working from home.
Let me start by saying that feelings of frustration are a normal human reaction to this situation. All feelings are valid, always.
The aim of mindfulness isn’t to rid our lives of feelings all together. Nor is the aim of mindfulness to be present 100% of the time.
Instead, mindfulness gives us the space of mind to allow these feelings in when they present themselves, to sit with and hold them and let them pass like they always will. It is when we (usually unconsciously) choose not to allow ourselves to feel our emotions that they manifest in our body and mind, which creates implications for our physical and mental health.
Consider our emotional capacity like a pot or a bowl. This is true for our children too. Each emotion adds to filling this bowl and eventually, if we don’t express and process, the pot boils over and our healthy emotions can quickly turn into behaviours that don’t align with us.
Mindfulness teaches us skills that support this moving of emotions from the internal to the external. Giving us tools in a tool kit that arms us with the ability to identify, express and release our emotions, which allows us to return to a grounded baseline and sense of calm.
Learning these skill sets at any age is beneficial, but making the choice to adopt this as a parent is powerful.
Children learn largely by watching us. Through learning mindfulness and making changes that direct us toward healthy emotion expression and mental health, we are shifting the unconscious patterns that otherwise become perpetuated over generations and supporting our children with skills they will carry for a lifetime.
Inspired by Ark and Luna