Not sure how the Discovery Family Program works?
Take a picture of your family enjoying a 'mindful moment'
Learn a variety of easy activities to incorporate mindfulness into your home with our Mindfulness Discovery Hunt. Here is how to get connected:
Download the Goosechase App
Search for code 'BREATHE'
Choose a team name, and
Learn to BREATHE and be Mindful!
GOAL: Incorporate some 'mindfulness' practices into your home to help kids protect their mental health
THE ADVENTURE: Check out the information about 'mindfulness' below and then join the Mindfulness Discovery Hunt to learn some mindfulness methods that work for your family
Remember that the important purpose of these activities is to help children develop a habit of using mindfulness to manage their mental health. Enjoy the experience with your kids and teach by experience.
This is a great opportunity to help your children expand their possibilities by exposing them to new ideas
Help build trust with your children by periodically checking in with them and asking them how they are doing
It's a busy world between work, home, and society at large. Most of us would do well to invite in more calm. Mindfulness mediation offers an opportunity to do just that and reset our central nervous system, evaluate where and how we focus our attention, and shift our awareness.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.
Beginning in January 2022 Dr. Kim Dwyer, a clinical psychologist with experience in mindfulness and the author of a book titled, 'Mindful Mondays' started sharing her expertise with us each week in our weekly post series. Every Monday in the Discover Family Fun communities you can enjoy a 'Mindful Monday' tip.
In her book Dr. Dwyer identifies three important concepts included in mindfulness:
🌸 Learning to direct your attention
🌸 Present Moment Awareness
🌸 Removing judgment
Benefits of mindfulness:
🌸 Improves well-being.
By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.
🌸 Improves physical health.
Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, , improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
🌸 Improves mental health. In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
There are many ways to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment.
🌸 Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.
🌸 Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.
🌸 Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.
🌸 Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.
🌸 Urge surfing – Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.
Mindfulness meditation builds upon concentration practices. Remember:
🌸 Go with the flow. In mindfulness meditation, once you establish concentration, you observe the flow of inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad.
🌸 Pay attention. You also notice external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience. The challenge is not to latch onto a particular idea, emotion, or sensation, or to get caught in thinking about the past or the future. Instead, you watch what comes and goes in your mind and discover which mental habits produce a feeling of well-being or suffering.
🌸 Stay with it. At times, this process may not seem relaxing at all, but over time it provides a key to greater happiness and self-awareness as you become comfortable with a wider and wider range of your experiences.
Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness at each moment. It involves being kind and forgiving toward yourself. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
🌸 Gently redirect. If your mind wanders into planning, daydreaming, or criticism, notice where it has gone and gently redirect it to sensations in the present.
🌸 Try and try again. If you miss your intended meditation session, simply start again. By practicing accepting your experience during meditation, it becomes easier to accept whatever comes your way during the rest of your day.
Here is a mindfulness activity that preschoolers will really enjoy. As you speak in a soft, calm voice invite your little ones to 'BE' what you describe.
When we go outside we can see and feel so many wonderful things. Things like trees, and the wind, and the clouds, and the sun.
In many ways we are like these beautiful parts of nature, and for this exercise we’ll be like the tree and the wind and the sun.
Our body is like a tree. It grows and it is strong.
Our breath is like the wind. It flows in and out.
And the sun is like the part of us that is warm and kind.
So let’s lower or close our eyes and sit tall like a tree. We extend our hands way out and stretch our fingers, like branches and leaves. Let’s squeeze our fingers together and then let go and feel them wiggle, like they are blowing in the wind.
And now, with the wind blowing, let’s be like the wind and take a two big, slow breaths. Breathing in . . . and breathing out, blowing out the wind. Breathing in . . . and breathing out, blowing out the wind.
And now the sun comes out and warms the tree and the wind. As it shines on the tree, we feel our body. Can you feel fingers and feel your toes? What else can you feel—just by noticing?
And as the sun shines on the wind, we feel our body breathing. Can you feel your belly moving up and down? Can you feel the air flowing in and out of your beautiful body?
And with the sun up high in the sky, brightening and warming the whole world, you too can warm the world—with your kindness!
Think of someone who can use a little kindness—like your sister or brother, or a friend, or your teacher. And as you think of them, wish for them, “May you be happy,” imagining them smiling like the sun.
You deserve happiness too. So now wish for yourself, “May I be happy,” and smile like the sun.
And as you smile like the sun, feel your body sitting tall like a tree and feel your breath blowing like the wind.
And then gently open your eyes and look around. You are amazing!
Community Engagement Adventure
Share what you have learned about mindfulness with a few friends. Invite them to be your accountability buddy when it comes to mindfulness. An accountability buddy will not only ask you if you have been using your mindfulness activities regularly, but will also remind you to use mindfulness when they see that you are stressed or struggling.
Encourage your Teens to develop their own special mindfulness technique.
Invite them to be aware of what works for them, what is not quite as effective, and even think of some new ways to practice mindfulness
by Mindful Moments
Mindful Mondays provides powerful and accessible strategies for on-the-fly mindfulness meditation. Bridging the gap between the meditation cushion and real-life living, Dr. Dwyer brings over two decades of experience as a clinical psychologist with a wealth of knowledge about psychophysiology, stress management, and habit formation to the topic of mindfulness. New students of mindfulness will appreciate the down-to-earth voice and approachable tone of Dr. Dwyer’s writing, while more seasoned meditators will benefit from the diverse applications in everyday life.
Take a picture of your family enjoying a 'mindful moment'