I’m always looking for ways to slow myself down! It’s so easy to get caught up in the frantic pace of life and it’s something we can do something about! Bringing ourselves back to calmness is a goal worth working towards as when we calm down, our brains actually work better, we feel more contented and those around us certainly benefit as well, including our family members!
Today I’m sharing three of my favourite ways to bring ourselves back to a calm state if you feel life and all its demands are getting you to a state of stress. Of course, they can also be used on a regular basis to ensure you don’t get there! These are so easy you can do them anytime, anywhere and are suitable for anyone to use, children included! We need to remember that children are not immune to feeling stressed so as the mindful adult in their lives I invite you to share these simple practices with the young ones in your lives after you explore them yourself.
If you have downloaded our free ebook, ‘Mindful Seven Day Challenge’ (available here) you’ll be familiar with it. It’s also a practice I teach during my workshops with children but it’s a very effective stress reducing practice for anyone to use. This method is an excellent way of gathering ourselves inward and calming racing minds. Basically, you put your hand on your lower belly and slowly breathe deeply into that space rather than your chest, watching it rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale! You might want to find a quiet space to practice this initially but over time, it can be done anywhere, anytime and whenever you sense anxiety approaching. It is reminiscent of meditating as it will physically calm and slow down the whole body. It’s how babies breathe and how we all began breathing but over time we learned to breathe in our upper chests instead and short shallow breaths do nothing to induce calmness. This is a life skill well worth learning!
The Pushing Down Exercise
This is an exercise from Dr. Lawrence Wilson and it’s so simple to do but I use it myself and find it very effective for grounding and centering. It’s very easy to always be in our heads, always thinking and going over situations over and over again which can be very stress inducing. With this method, Dr. Wilson shows us how to move our energy and therefore our thinking downwards and to ground with the earth and at the same time to lose the need to be living in our heads. This is how he explains it:
“Sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes. Some do the exercise with eyes open but it is easier with eyes closed. Eventually, you will be able to do it with eyes open.
Keep your eyes focused straight ahead. Do not roll your eyes up into your head, and do not strain in any way. Also, keep your shoulders down at all times. Do not let them ride upwards or twist.
Now use our mind to move a subtle energy into your head from above, and down the entire body to the feet.”
It may be easier for children to imagine a white light moving down their body rather than using the term ‘energy’.
Slow Down Whatever You Are Doing
If you have our picture book, Making Mindful Magic, (available here) you’ll recognise this activity from the book, as ‘Take As Long As You Can’. Basically, you focus very purposefully and very slowly on performing a particular activity or the one you happen to be doing right now. For example, you may be in the kitchen preparing dinner. For a short time slow the activity right down – really look at the vegetable you’re cutting, slowly turn it over in your hand, smell it, rub your finger over it and notice its texture. Very slowly engage with the cutting process and you will feel yourself become noticeably calmer and more relaxed. With children there are many activities that can be turned into a Take As Long As you Can exercise – brushing hair, colouring in, chewing a mouthful. It really doesn’t matter what it is but the point is to do it as purposefully and slowly as you can so you can calmly re-connect with the calm, inner you.
Feeling calm is in everyone's best interests and part of an attitude of self-love - enjoy the benefits!