Meditation is for everyone and the wealth of scientific and anecdotal evidence that supports the claim is evident just about everywhere. Regular meditations have been known to fight depression and stress, improve emotional resilience and engender feelings of genuine empathy and patience.1 These kinds of benefits currently are and have been a valuable support to parenting since time immemorial.
The big question in today’s fast-paced societies is “how can the modern time-pressed parent squeeze in this important practice into a full-time schedule?” Being a parent does not just “take up all your time” but essentially takes up your entire life. According to the statistics today, more than half of parents say that time constraints make work and family time a difficult balance.
With so much riding on the value of each and every moment, how can it be smart or even possible to allow a full 20-minutes to daily meditation?
Changing Perspectives on Meditation and the Cultivation of Mindfulness
The practice of meditation can often seem more complex and daunting than it really is due to an incredibly rich culture and vast history. But, when you boil the concepts down to their essences, there is actually no “right” or “wrong” ways to apply meditation and mindfulness to your life. Because the goals are as simple as immersion in the moment and full awareness of the mind and body they can actually be applied at any time of the day in any activity.
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Without placing too fine a point on the subject, mindfulness is simply the intentional awareness or consciousness of the moment, which could be no longer than it takes to take a breath. Meditation is the cultivation of this state of awareness.
While it would be wonderful to spend 40 days under a Bodhi Tree in search for spiritual awakening, even just 5 minutes of intentional meditation and mindfulness is more than enough to make a solid start. Read on to learn about some practical applications of mindfulness and meditation in some standard activities every parent with small kids is familiar with.
Meditation Tips for Busy Parents With Small Children
Feeding Times— Loving Kindness Meditation
Taking the time to feed your child is essential to their tiny health and happiness, even when you are especially busy you should take the time to do this mindfully. Rather than set your body in automatic pilot and allow your mind to address future agendas and next week’s shopping list, pull all your focus into the moment and build edifying energy with Loving Kindness meditation.
This style focuses on the breathing. With each inhalation, the mind is opened to receiving the love and kindness from their world and especially the child they are feeding. When exhaling, make your breath an expression of love and kindness in returning to your world and your baby. This should even be applied when cooking meals as it adds the essential “love” ingredient.
Exercise and Outdoor Activities— Mindfulness Meditation
Taking your child out into the world is not the time to let your mind wander, provide your youngster with greater protection through full Mindfulness Meditation. In this practice, focus and awareness are drawn to the moment and the existing surroundings while allowing thoughts of the past or present to pass. This practice will increase your sensitivity to your immediate environment making you a better guide and protector to your young charge.
Explosive Tantrums and Obstinate Youth— Mantra Meditations
Kids seem to learn quickly how to push Mommy and Daddy’s buttons and without some reserves of mental resilience, the situation can get ugly. Next time your little monster decides to challenge your authority is the best time to begin expanding your reserves of patience with Mantra Meditation. This can actually begin with kids as small as newborns who may be suffering from colic. Take your child in your arms (if possible) and begin pulling your own awareness to your breathing. As you exhale, repeat the mantra of your choice softly and quietly. The “Ohm” mantra is an excellent choice for grounding negative energy to the earth and restoring peace that can be passed on to your troubled child. This is also a great way to get restless children to relax and fall asleep.
Alone Time— Transcendental Meditation, Zen Meditation, Couples Meditation. We now call it Me Time.
Finally, the magic has happened and you have some free time to dedicate to your personal meditation practices, what to do? Transcendental meditation is a great way to rise above your apparent obstacles and difficulties through the paths of self-awareness and improvement. Zen meditation is something like mindfulness, but extols the state of “No Mind” and involves postures and breathing disciplines. Couples meditation provide parents with a strong connection that improves communications, unites minds and allies emotions, thus creating a nourishing and positive family culture that leads to a better future.
As you try to incorporate these tips of practicing mindfulness and meditation into your crazy schedule with your children, you can try out MONQ’s easy, portable aromatherapy diffuser. The Zen diffuser is a great addition to these practices and can fit in your pocket, purse, or diaper bag.
Photo credits: Kite_rin/shutterstock.com, YAKOBCHUKVIACHESLAV/shutterstock.com, fizkes/shutterstock.com