Easy Everyday Mindfulness by Sue FullerMindful Parenting by Sue Fuller

Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular, it is easy to do and when practiced at home it will benefit the whole family.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is paying complete attention to the present moment without passing judgment or becoming distracted by other thoughts or emotions.

Life today can be hectic especially in a busy household.  How often do you find yourself doing one thing whilst thinking about or planning another moment in time?  Or do you find yourself thinking about something else whilst a family member is talking to you?

If you answered yes this is normal, the mind likes to busy, it likes to think and have its own internal dialogue playing.  However in an already stressful world a busy mind just adds to the stress and at times makes it difficult to focus completely on what you are doing because the mind is constantly active.

A busy mind increases stress levels which can influence the whole household.

Mindfulness can help.

Practising mindfulness helps minimise some of the internal chatter of the mind, it also clears the mind and encourages complete awareness of the present moment. 

This benefits the whole household and creates a positive environment.

With a clear, focussed and uncluttered mind stress levels greatly reduce.

Mindfulness teaches you to engage fully with the present moment and focus all of your attention on your current activity, which brings increased levels of satisfaction this is warmly appreciated by the rest of the household and will hopefully be reflected in behaviour and moods.

When you start practising mindfulness spend a little time doing this on your own, for just ten minutes daily when the rest of the house is calm or empty and you are able to focus completely on the technique.

Before bed or upon waking is a good time to practise mindfulness.

Begin your mindfulness practise whilst sitting comfortably with a straight spine.  Start by focussing on your breath entering and leaving your body, try to focus completely on your breath. When your mind becomes distracted or you notice that you are thinking about something else bring your attention back to your breath. 

It is totally normal for the mind to wander, this happens to most people.  However with regular practise you will find that the wandering of the mind reduces and that you will be able to focus for longer periods on your breath before the mind wanders again.

This simple technique is so easy to do; it requires very little time and no equipment.  By increasing mindfulness you begin to clear your mind and lower stress levels.

Mindful ParentingBring mindfulness into your parenting.

To become more mindful as a parent, chose one activity that you could do with your children daily.  This activity can change each day.  The point is, is that you give your children 100% of your attention daily for ten minutes.  You are probably thinking that you do this all the time anyway.  However, during this time do not make phone calls or send text messages see if you can focus 100% of your attention on this present moment, even try to not drink during the activity.

Pick an activity such as a jigsaw, a card game, catching a ball, drawing, colouring, play dough or baking or any other activity that you do together. During the activity focus completely on the activity, your children, listen to what they are saying and when your mind starts to wander just bring your focus back to the activity.

Try to minimise the planning in your head and the thoughts that are buzzing around inside your mind.

Just ten minutes a day of focussed attention will help boost self- confidence and good feelings both yours as a parent and theirs as the child, it creates a loving and supportive environment that will extend beyond the ten minutes.

Once you master ten minutes try extending this time.Mindfulness for the Absolute Beginner

And maybe you could introduce the practise of mindfulness to other family members too, by aiming to be mindful for one minute whilst all sitting together.  An easy way to do this is to all close your eyes and to breathe slowly and ask the family to see if they can focus completely on their out breath without allowing another thought to enter their minds.  This can turn into quite a fun activity, as if the mood suits you could always ask your children to share what thoughts popped into their heads.

Sue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher and writer.  She has been practicing yoga for over twenty years.  Sue is the creator of the Yoga 2 Hear range of audio yoga classes and also the following audio books: - Easy Everyday Mindfulness, Mindfulness for Absolute Beginner and Gentle Yoga for Mindfulness