We are offering a weekly blog series with a collection of diverse and effective coping techniques and exercises that can help reduce stress, improve mental and emotional well-being, and perhaps make you even more effective in achieving your individual goals. Check back every Wednesday for the newest skill of the week. Try them all out and find what works best for you.

This week Kendra Doukas, LMFT shares a mindfulness activity you can try with your children:

As a therapist, I teach mindfulness all day every day. The word “mindfulness” has a lot of buzz but not a lot of explanation as to how to accomplish it. It is a concept that is rather simple, but which our language and cultural defaults tend to easily corrupt. Many adults struggle with it because it is a difficult concept to grasp and because very few of us were ever taught how to do it. A hopeful trend in our world today is that many children across America are being exposed to the concept of mindfulness. Many schools incorporate mindfulness routines in “brain breaks” and other school practices. It was through this type of school-based effort that I was recently shown a wonderful video geared towards teaching mindfulness to children. 

The video is put on by the popular Cosmic Kids Yoga YouTube channel as part of their “Zen Den” programming and is called, “Be the Pond” . In the video, children are encouraged to imagine their bodies as a pond with many fish swimming around in the pond. Each experienced emotion can be a fish in the pond swimming around. Kids are coached to “just notice” the fish swimming and just “be the pond.” This is a fantastic and highly effective way to teach the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply the focus on the here and now. Noticing our thoughts, actions, emotions, body state, etc. without having an agenda for them or getting “taken over” by them is the key to mindfulness and resulting mental health benefits. The video is obviously geared towards children, but I believe many adults could benefit from practicing along with the video. It is all of 6 minutes long, but proves to be a great re-set or great routine to start or end the day.