Breathe in. Breathe out.
The back-to-school period is typically stressful in any event.
Now, in this COVID era, there’s an added level of anxiety and uncertainty many of us have to deal with when planning our children’s back to school routines.
There is, however, no reason for these emotions to run rampant; there is a way for you to take control of the situation and stay on track with preparing for the back-to-school tasks on hand.
The benefits of meditation
Evidence of meditation has been documented from as early as 5,000 to 3,500 BCE, where wall art in the continent of India shows people in seated, meditative positions. Spanning across the centuries, meditation has evolved into what we know today.
The purpose of meditation is to increase focused concentration, which is highly effective for management of any situation, especially during periods of increased stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety cause disruptions in the brain patterns, which often cause thoughts to jump from one idea to another, not allowing you to complete one task without worrying about the other. With meditation, attention and focus may be honed into the task at hand, allowing you to complete it before moving onto the next one.
Additionally, research shows that there are significant health benefits to practicing mindfulness and meditation. Along with reducing stress and anxiety, and improving overall emotional wellbeing, the health benefits of meditation include:
- Improving memory;
- Reducing sleeplessness and promoting restful relaxation;
- Controlling pain; and
- Decreasing blood pressure.
There are health benefits in meditation for children, too. Going back to school may lead to increased feelings of stress anxiety for them, and they, too, need to implement techniques to help them unwind and relax. It’s also a great way to improve their mental strength and energy, which also help to improve their focus and clarity for their school and extra curricular tasks.
The best thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere and at any time.
Start meditating with these simple steps
When meditating on your own:
- Find a space of relaxation and comfort
A quiet, comfortable spot with few distractions is best for relaxing and meditating.
- Create your meditation environment
You may want to incorporate sound into your meditation practice. Gentle instrumental music, white noise, or sounds of nature may help you to gently bring about relaxation and focus.
- Breathe and relax
One of the easiest ways to meditate, particularly for beginners, is to simply use the breath. Breathing in and out has been shown to regulate and reset the breath, allowing for gentle relaxation to set in.
Breathe in for a count of seven, and out for a count of eleven. Repeat this for a number of minutes.
For a quicker breath reset, you can use sighing. Take a deep breath in and let the sigh out slowly and silently allowing every last bit of air out of your body. Repeat one or two times.
There are a number of easy meditation techniques you can do with your children, too. Follow the first two principles of meditating on your own, but try one of these meditation techniques that are geared towards the young mind8.
- The elevator ride
For young children, encourage the child to sit quietly and imagine an elevator ride. Help them to imagine the elevator moving from their head towards their belly, stopping at floors and letting people in. On the exhale, the elevator will move down a floor, once the breath is complete, the doors will open and the inhale will represent people moving in. Quietly talk your child through these steps for a few minutes.
- Using fingers
Create gentle fists and with each exhale, unfurl one finger. Pause and inhale. With the next exhale, unfurl the next finger, and so on. This is a particularly useful meditation practice to try during heightened moments of anxiety.
Bring calmness and relaxation into your every day with these simple meditation tips the whole family can enjoy. It’s easier than you think to tackle the stress and anxiety that the back-to-school process may cause. Use meditation to do so.