I recently completed a six-week course of mindfulness and meditation at my children’s pediatric wellness center. I went into it with some knowledge of the practice and the benefits that it can bring to people, but not really knowing how to incorporate it fully into my life. My ultimate goal was to deepen my learning experience and also teach it to my family and the children that I work with in my practice.
The workshop was led by Cory Muscara from the Long Island Center for Mindfulness. He was incredibly helpful in breaking down the theory, how to practice different types of meditation and how to realistically weave it into your life. He gave us daily homework to practice guided meditation, self-reflect and increase our awareness of the present moment.
All three may sound easy to do, but it was a challenge because our brains are wired to constantly think, plan, judge, and move at a high-speed. We are also juggling the emotions that are tied to our thoughts, such as anger, guilt, and anxiety. It makes sense that so many people have a hard time navigating through life, especially if they don’t have the coping tools to stay calm, think clearly and communicate effectively.
In a matter of six weeks, I could see a drastic change in my life. My interpersonal relationships were much stronger than they were before. I was able to articulate my thoughts and feelings with my family calmly (especially during those intense parenting moments) and also became a more active listener to their needs.
I was able to disconnect from chaotic thoughts that would typically trigger stress and anxiety and reconnect with emotions of stillness and confidence. I was also able to strengthen my techniques of child-centered play with the clients in my practice and teach coping strategies based on mindfulness to the kids and parents.
I think it is wonderful to see the trend of adults practicing mindfulness and meditation, but I am really excited to see that educators, parents, and healthcare professionals are incorporating it with children.
Here are a few children’s books on mindfulness and meditation that I have started to use with my kids and the families in my child life practice.
Master of Mindfulness: How to Be Your Own Superhero in Times of Stress
The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercise for Kids (and Their Parents)
What Does it Mean to be Present?
Have you thought about incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your life?