I am Stressed About Being Stressed
Is stress causing your child to feel overwhelmed? Check out this review of Susan Kaiser Greenland’s The Mindful Child.
What is Mindfulness: Mindfulness can be described as paying attention to the moment. When I stop to take a break and become aware of my self, my thoughts, my feelings, and my surroundings, I am being mindful. Wikipedia describes mindfulness as a meditative practice that has gained worldwide popularity as a distinctive method to handle emotions. It is when we purposely bring awareness to our experience.
Mindfulness can help your family to not get too caught up in the past or future. It switches our attention to what’s happening in the present helping to reduce emotional reactions such as tantrums or panic. Learning mindfulness can help you or your child gain peacefulness and control as opposed to feeling stressed out.
Review of The Mindful Child: This book offers practical and applicable skills for parents to teach mindfulness to their children. It begins with learning breathing techniques that can be taught to your child through activities and scripts you read aloud. After mastering breathing techniques, Greenland’s book helps you practice direct, focused attention which is especially useful for an overactive mind.
Further, the book is a tool to gain compassion and control over our emotions. For example, in learning to choose our emotions, it includes a quick story about a farmer whose events are not predictable so overreacting would not help his situation at all. Lots of times we are causing our own distress due to our reaction of an event and it doesn’t always fit what happened. The Mindful Child can help your family learn to let go, use your imagination, and practice as you teach!
Practice Breathing: Ask your child to get comfortable in a sitting position and to close their eyes. To draw their attention to their breathing by putting their hand on their stomach as they feel it gently rise and fall with every breath. After completing several cycles, guide their attention to any thoughts or feelings that come up. Ask your child to visualize letting their thoughts or feelings go and retain focus back to breathing. Continue and repeat as many times as feels appropriate.
For another way to practice deep breathing this summer, have your child be aware of their breathing rhythm while blowing a pinwheel.
The Best Part: My favorite application of The Mindful Child includes “A Radical Act of Kindness” script that allows children to take a moment to be compassionate and kind towards themselves and let go of worries or struggles. Instead, allow room to embrace and be conscious of your inner beauty. Our acceptance of our passions and abilities allow us to better contribute and find purpose.
More About The Author: Susan Kaiser Greenland began learning and using mindfulness practices after her husband was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma. She developed the Inner Kids Mindful Awareness Program for children and families as a result of her passion about using breathing and mindfulness techniques.
Visit Greenland’s Upcoming Event In Dallas: May 29th- May 30th 2014 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Crow Collection of Asian Art $25 for the public
This article was contributed by Holly Mitchell, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor in affiliation with ChangePoint Counseling in Forney, Tx.