We continue with our mindful focus on our senses. Taking time to stop and appreciate what we DO have is important for a happy life. Too often we can fall into a negative spiral and not appreciate our lives.
Today, we will focus on the sense of smell.
We will follow the same process as yesterday.
– At the beginning of the day, discuss what they are already noticing as they look around. Then, decide to notice that on a given signal. (This could be the ringing of a bell, code word, etc.)
– Have children take a minute to notice.
– Guide them by asking them questions: -Have you noticed something or someone you have never noticed before? -How many different things are you noticing? (I always surprise myself when I buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice that car EVERYWHERE!)
– Have the children make a mental note about this #mindfulmoment and congratulate themselves for being in the present and proceed with their learning/work.
Don’t forget to share your child’s mindfulmoment and successes by using the hashtag #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).
The key to mindfulness is focusing on the present moment calmly and accepting the feelings and thoughts and bodily sensations. It is our way to taking control of ourselves even when things around us are happening without our control.
In a child’s life, there is little that they have control over. When they get up, what they wear, what they eat, what they watch, etc. controlled or semi-controlled. Then, add the actions and reactions of other children to situations and there is a perfect storm. Our job is to help them realise there are things they can control and giving them strategies be aware and mindful of their minds and bodies; learning how to live in a chaotic world.
Mindful eating is one way that allows a child to become aware of the positive and nurturing foods we eat by using our senses. By using all of our senses in choosing to eat food that supports our bodies growth and development, we are acknowledging the foods we like or dislike without making a fuss about the taste. Additionally, they become aware of signals the body gives us to lets us know we are hungry or we are full. So, in addition to the mindfulness with the eating of foods, we also start to see food in a different way; as nourishment.
As an adult, you may choose to eat an entire meal in a mindful way. However, for children, the process could be very tedious, particularly in the beginning.
Mindful Eating Exercise:
(The parent needs to verbally guide the children through the exercise.)
You can use a raisin, a slice of apple or orange, pomegranate seed, dried fruit, a piece of chocolate or any food you wish.
1- Have the children LOOK at the food they will be eating. Silently, they are to observe what it looks like? What do you notice?
What colour is it?
Is it small or large?
2- Have the child smell the food.
Does it have a smell?
What does it smell like?
3- Have the child direct their attention to how it feels.
Can You squeeze it?
Is it firm or soft?
Is it smooth, sticky or rough?
Warm or cold?
Does it make any sounds?
4- Have the child, very slowly, put the piece of food in their mouth but not chew it! Leave it on the tongue.
How does it feel on the tongue?
Can you taste anything?
Does it smell differently in your mouth?
5- Have the child begin to chew slowly; one mindful chew at a time.
Does the taste change?
How does it feel in the mouth?
6- Try to get them notice when they swallow, and see how far you can feel the food into your body.
7- Finally, discuss what they felt during the activity or turn on some meditation music and allow them to write about their experience.
Try this with a number of different foods either in one sitting or over a period of time.
In addition, encourage them to mindfully eat their first bite of lunch each day. It is lovely to see children mindfully eating their food.
Don’t forget to share your child’s mindfulmoment and successes with #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).
The key to mindfulness is not being in the present every moment of the day. That is not possible and not appropriate for a successful life; you do need some time to reflect in order to improve and prepare for the future. The key is being able to refocus yourself in the present at your will and not at the will of your meandering thoughts.
Refocusing without judgement is a positive mindful activity.
Today, we will focus using a reminder, Colour Meditation.
– Choose a colour and decide to notice that colour during the day. Take the time to notice the objects and people wearing that colour.
– Have your noticed something or someone you have never noticed before? How many different things are you noticing? (I always surprise myself when I buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice that car EVERYWHERE!)
This ends our #MindfulFocusChallenge. We hope you have been able to see how mindfulness can help you in your day to day life.
Many psychologists believe that our emotions begin with a physical sensation, positive or negative. When we focus on positive sensations that are calming, we can emotionally become calm.
Today, our mindfulness practice will focus on positive physical sensations to mindfully be in the moment and anchor us in the present.
Washing Hands Meditation
When we wash our hands in warm water, it opens the blood vessels and tricks your brain out of a stressful state.
– When you go to wash your hands, be mindful of the sensation of the water and soap as your rub your palms, between your fingers and on top of your hands. Breath deeply allowing your breathing enhance the feel of water and soap.
Many of us hold stress in our shoulders. As the day becomes more stressful, our shoulders become more tense and creep up towards our ears. It is like a primitive form of contracting our muscles to spring into the fight or flight mode. The #mindfulmoment for today is to to take a moment, without judgement, to relax our shoulders and accept the feeling of restfulness that accompanies the moment.
– Breath deeply and, on the exhale, allow your shoulders to drop towards the floor as if someone is pressing them downward.
– Continue to breathe deeply for five breaths, allowing your shoulders to slightly rise on the inhale and then completely drop on the exhale.
– Recognise how the muscles feel in the shoulder and neck. Remember, do not judge the tension. Just recognise it is there and release the tension.
Do this at least five times during the day.
This is particularly useful technique to use when having to deal with situations that are escalating into an argument or emotional situation. I also encourage shoulder relaxation in basic deep breathing as part of the everyday practice.