During the pandemic we have noticed a drastic behavioral and emotional shift in one of our children. Sometimes it’s a burst of anger, or tears over something minuscule other times it’s slamming doors and yelling at us. I have tried to stay true to practicing mindfulness with my kids since understanding it more. Attempting to work towards dealing with situations calmly and methodically is a challenge but slowly is becoming routine. I am human and I’ve had my fair share of losing my calm but I try my best to remember to take a breath before reacting and attempt to deal with the situation by talking through it and more than anything else; listening. The Kids Mindfulness Project started by Shelby Samperton inspires to enlighten children and parents with mindfulness practices.
The below post is written by Shelby; author of ‘Pearl The Mindful Turtle’, ‘Pearl And The Rainbow’, ‘Pearl & Birdie’, ‘Pearl Coloring Book’, and founder of the Kids Mindfulness Project.
As a single mother of 3 young kids, I was curious to find a better way to handle all of life’s ups and downs. When I first started looking into mindfulness, I was instantly drawn to the sense of calm and peace that the practice created within me. As I deepened my practice, it became clear that this power, this sense of enlightenment and peace, was already within me. I was able to activate it and strengthen it through daily mindfulness practice.
One of the biggest misconceptions about mindfulness is that it means you are always happy, never stressed, always at peace. Mindfulness doesn’t remove difficult emotions, rather it gives you a tool box to pull from when something difficult arises, and it will. Life is full of struggles, difficulties, obstacles, and challenges. As John Kabat-Zinn says, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Mindfulness is a practice that teaches us to be present, to be accepting, to be equanimous.
Through my mindfulness practice, I have found that when a challenging or triggering situation arises, I have a big emotional reaction, I feel things very intensely and deeply. The imperative difference is that I recover much faster. I give myself the space and time to feel my feelings, to explore them without judgement. In most cases, I will learn something about myself in the process. I am then able to let that experience and those feelings go. They no longer control me. I am no longer a victim to my emotions. I am empowered by them. This is the magic of mindfulness. A magic that is already inside
each of us. Mindfulness helps us to ignite our magic and grow our light.
One of the benefits of mindfulness is cultivating the space to respond rather than react to a situation. When we are present with a triggering situation, mindfulness helps us to take a breath, to observe the situation without being overwhelmed or controlled by it. That response can be “This situation is not serving me, let me take a break and get back to you.” If the triggering or difficult thought arises in your mind you can recite “No thank you. Not right now.” and begin to shift your mindset away from the negative and toward a positive thought.
Acceptance is another foundation of mindfulness. Recognizing that what is happening in your current moment is not your end but simply a moment on your journey. I am confident we have all had moments of deep uncertainty, fear, confusion, and mistrust recently. By reciting, “right now it’s like this” can help bring your thoughts back to the present moment. You can simply notice and observe what is happening around you without the push or pull of trying to control the outcome.
Each time you make mindfulness part of your routine, you are retraining your habitual mental tendencies to be filled with more awareness, compassion, and control.
If you are interested in bringing mindfulness practices into your family, please feel free to reach out for family or individual mindfulness sessions. You can reach Shelby via email here. Also visit Kids Mindfulness Project online. Please follow the Kids Mindfulness Project on Instagram!
Am additional post written by Shelby Samperton last year for Beltway Bambinos can be found here.