Updated: Dec 20, 2021
By Dr. Tasnova Malek
Mindfulness, or the practice of self-reflection and being more present in decision-making, is not a new practice. In fact, mindfulness is practiced in even the most ancient of religions and belief systems. Mindfulness has numerous mental and physical benefits, which is why so many parents are turning to solutions such as practicing meditation and self-reflection regularly in their daily lives.
Knowing how to use mindfulness to become a better parent is not only a way for you to be even more present in your child's life, but it’s also a way to become more present in yours.
Tips on Using Mindfulness to Improve Your Parenting
There’s more to the art of mindfulness than repeating positive affirmations once a day. In fact, mindfulness comes in different forms, from diffusing a sibling rivalry to getting through a stressful and chaotic week. Using a few tips, you’ll learn how to integrate mindfulness into your household without it feeling like a chore.
The Importance of Breathwork
Incorporate breathwork into your daily routine and encourage your children to join in with you. Simply focusing on your breathing and ensuring you take in enough oxygen with each breath is a great pattern of behavior to establish. Often, anxiety and bouts of panic can be alleviated with a few breathing exercises and ongoing breathwork.
Be Present and Aware
Whenever you get a free moment throughout your day, try to be present and aware. Simply appreciating your existence is one of the simplest and easiest forms of mindfulness that you can incorporate into your daily life. When you’re present and aware of your existence, it’s much easier to give gratitude and thanks for what you have in life, even when life is stressful.
Designate Specific Activities With Your Children for Mindfulness
Designating specific activities or chores with your children as a time for you to actively engage with and practice mindfulness is highly recommended, especially if you’re just starting to practice and incorporate mindfulness.
Some times to consider designating for practicing mindfulness might include:
· During breaks at your child’s sporting event
· At dinner time
· While you do homework and chores
· As you give your child a bath or getting ready for the evening
One of the cornerstones of mindfulness and spirituality stems from practicing and embracing gratitude. Gratitude is the appreciation of all things, regardless of the emotions they may stir up.
To practice gratitude is to be present while understanding the significance and insignificance of any moment. When you feel gratitude, you’re less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed, even if you feel like you’re failing or falling behind as a parent.
When you have gratitude in your daily life, you’re less likely to feel disappointment over small issues or problems. You’ll begin to see life through a glass that is half-full instead of nearly empty. Practicing gratitude will help you to see what’s truly most important in your life.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Yourself
Being mindful is not just a way to remain calm and reduce anxiety during hectic weeknights. It’s also a lifestyle for those who truly recognize its benefits. Not only does mindfulness help you achieve a more calm and relaxed way of living, it also provides numerous mental, physical, and emotional benefits for the body and soul.
Reduce Anxiety and Alleviate Symptoms of Depression
Although the research is still relatively new, there are many promising studies that showcase how mindfulness helps with relieving stress, anxiety, and even symptoms of depression. Whether you prefer to treat your anxiety and depression naturally or you have yet to find a prescription medication that genuinely provides you with relief, the practice of mindfulness can help.
Reduce Stress Levels
Parenting a child is one of the most stressful jobs anyone can take on. It’s safe to say everyone experiences some level of stress while parenting. Using mindfulness in your day-to-day life is one of the best and quickest ways to reduce stress and alleviate the symptoms of stress whenever they pop up.
The more you look inward, the easier it becomes to hone in on specific areas that require improvement, such as your own focus. If you find it difficult to focus on work or even on your own hobbies because you feel overwhelmed, it may be time to take a step back while integrating more mindfulness techniques into your routine.
Meditating, practicing gratitude, and just being more present can all help you to remain focused, calm, and rational, even when you’re faced with chaotic and hectic situations with your children and household.
Get Better Sleep
Regardless of the age of the children in your home, you are likely to be sleep-deprived at least sometimes. If you’re missing out on sleep regularly, consider practicing more mindfulness. Studies show that mindfulness helps sleep disturbances and also helps to improve the overall quality of sleep you receive each night with ongoing and regular practice.
Help Regulate Your Emotions
Did you know that the practice of mindfulness has actually been shown to help with the regulation of our emotions? By working to better control your own thoughts, feelings, and reactions to specific situations, you can impact how your brain responds to stress in the future. Mindfulness is an extremely powerful, often untapped tool that can help you cope with stress from almost anything.
As a parent, there’s no better feeling than seeing your child healthy, loved, and happy. With mindfulness, you can also achieve increased happiness in your everyday life. Mindfulness provides many opportunities to reflect, assess, and improve upon various areas of your life without harsh judgments and criticisms.
The more mindful you become, the easier it will feel to take on tough challenges and stressful situations. Feeling happier in your daily life can make a world of difference for any parent.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Your Loved Ones
Integrating the practice of mindfulness into your daily life is not only beneficial for your own mental and emotional wellbeing, but also for that of your loved ones, including your children. The more you implement mindfulness techniques and solutions into your household, the easier it will become to connect and relate to one another without feeling stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed.
Using mindfulness to become a better parent is not an overnight solution. In some cases, seeking additional care is extremely beneficial on your journey to mindfulness as a parent. With the right attitude, outlook, and level of commitment, you can successfully use mindfulness to help improve the overall quality of life for you and your loved ones.
thenewsavvy.com - How Mindfulness Can Make You a Better Parent
kiddycharts.com - 10 ways mindfulness can help you be a better parent
mindfulness.com - 11 Proven Benefits of Mindfulness
sciencedirect.com - A Multi-Method Examination of the Effects of Mindfulness on Stress Attribution, Coping, and Emotional Well-Being
sleepfoundation.org - How Meditation Can Treat Insomnia
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov - Mindfulness Practice Leads to Increases in Regional Brain Gray Matter Density
science.org - A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com - Guide to Interventions for Families: How to Get Your Loved One into Rehab
Dr. Tasnova Malek
National Suicidal Prevention Center
Bangladesh Medical College