Practicing mindfulness has many benefits for all areas of life. It affects physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. It’s an even more powerful tool when that intention and awareness is shared with others – in this case, our family. A Family that practices mindfulness together, stays together.
A mindful family is:
- Aware of each other’s wants/needs
- Emotionally available
- More likely to take responsibility for how we are feeling
- Less likely to project negative feelings onto others
Mindfulness can be a new and odd subject to those who are unfamiliar. To avoid awkward interactions like in the comic, we want to introduce mindfulness in a way that instills curiosity. Questions that may get others to be curious about mindfulness are:
- Are you present?
- How do you feel right now? Do you want to change anything about that?
- Have you set an intention (for the day/activity)?
- What do you think of taking a few minutes to be mindful with ourselves and each other?
Starting a Practice
A family that practices mindfulness together, stays together.
Start Small – try a short mindfulness minutes activity and reflect on the experience as a group (perhaps before/after a meal). Most of our mindfulness activities include the following steps which can be used as a basis for your own activity!
- Close your eyes. Take 3 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Name an emotion – what word best describes how you feel right now? Take note of it and let it go for now.
- Observe the senses (can be just 1 sense: i.e. Listen to the sounds around; or engage each of the senses if time allows: hearing, smell, taste, touch, sight).
- Observe the breath – Let it happen naturally without thinking about it.
- Set an intention. If nothing specific comes to mind, set an intention to be present and express gratitude throughout the day. The more you are specific about your intentions, the more likely you are to act on them without even thinking about it. We subconsciously achieve our goals or desired state of being.
- Name an emotion – what word best describes how you feel right now? Take note of it. Open your eyes.
Discuss your experience with your family. Here are possible discussion questions to get you started.
- How do you feel? Do you want to change that? Remember we can hold on to, or let go of any emotion. It’s a choice.
- Especially with family, be accountable for your own emotions. Don’t use crutches or deflections such as “I feel like you…”, or “You made me feel…” Own your feelings.
- What are you working on?
- Do you need support?
Try this activity with your kids, parents, spouse, or close friends. It is a great way to connect and share perspectives.