A lot of people (specially grown ups) talk about Mindfulness. But what does it really mean? What is mindfulness? Good question, we are glad you’ve asked.
Mindfulness is like a superpower for kids and grown ups but it takes practice. Mindfulness is the “simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment”.
Mindfulness means paying full attention to something. It means slowing down to really notice what you're doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you're mindful, you're taking your time. You're focusing in a relaxed, easy way.
Here are few exercises to try to help train your mind and get your Superpower to be a bit stronger everyday. Remember your job is to gently bring your attention back to the thing you are focused on. The more you practice doing that, the better you train your brain to pay attention.
1. Mindful Eating (Terri, our Tasmanian devil’s favourite)
You can do with any food you like. The idea is to really pay attention to what you are eating.
Can you try to eat your favorite food (a strawberry or a biscuit) slowly, without rushing. You can either close your eyes or keep them open.
- Start by holding the piece of food you picked and notice how it feels.
- What does it smell like?
- Observe it like you are really paying attention to this food, how does it look like? what about the texture? The colors? the shape?
- How does it feel in your fingers?
- Is your mouth watering? Go ahead and taste it. Notice how it feels on your tongue, and against your teeth. Notice the flavor, the texture, and chew each piece slowly. Take your time as you chew, taste, smell, and feel each bite.
2. Mindful Breathing (Pat, our platypus’s favourite)
Mindful Breathing is for you to pay attention to your breath. Seems odd but it will make a huge difference and reinforce your Superpower!
- Find a quiet and comfortable place and close your eyes.
- Notice your breathing as you inhale and exhale normally. Just pay attention to your breath as it goes in and out.
- Can you notice your belly or your chest moving as you breathe? Inhale / exhale...
- Sit for a few minutes, just paying attention to your gentle breathing. See how relaxed you can feel just sitting, breathing in and out.
- When your mind starts to wander and think about something else, gently guide your attention back to your breathing.
You can use our RGYM Breathing techniques guide to help you.
3. Mindful Walking (Kelly, our koala’s favourite)
This one is a fun one to do and pretty much you can do wherever you are. You need to pay attention to how your body moves as you walk slowly.
- Walk in slow motion, step by step. Notice how your arms and legs and feet move. And then how your knees bend and straighten, as you lift one foot and then the other, nice and slow.
- Focus on your slow breathing in tune with your steps. Can you keep your attention focused on walking slowly and stay relaxed and breathe slowly.
- Whenever your mind wanders, gently guide it back to your s-l-o-w motion moving. Just like Ellis, our koala!
4. Mindful Poses (Kim, our echidna’s favourite)
Of course, one more way to connect with your mindfulness Superpower is through body poses and our Rainbow Gum Family members will help you with some fun poses. Those poses have specially been designed to make you feel strong, brave and happy. See printable here.
Find a quiet and happy place, it can be inside or outside, in your bedroom or in a park.. Get your mat or towel out and try different poses:
- Tree pose: Bend your knee, and place your left foot on the inside part of your right leg. Relax and straighten the left leg shifting your weight into the foot. Ground it – imagine it being a tree root.
- Cobra pose: Begin by laying on your stomach. Place your hands flat on the floor, under your shoulders. Straighten your arms, to lift your upper body off the floor. Hold this position for a couple of breaths, then release your legs and upper body to rest on your mat.
- Triangle pose
What does this all mean for you? More Superpowers of course!! Like being able to feel calmer, more patient and more relaxed. Listening and focusing on things will become easier for you.
Plus the ultimate superpower will be to face hard things or tough moments and YOU WILL be able to handle them better. Yyaaayyyy
"If you want to conquer the anxiety in life, live in the moment, live in the breathe." Amit Ray