Meditation and mindfulness practice is essential to healing. Not only is there solid science to support these practices for anxiety, depression, and trauma, there are thousands of practitioners who have found mindfulness supportive to [re]inventing the way they think and perceive.
Mindfulness is difficult, that is why many people try it and stop after one or two attempts. It is difficult to sit with yourself, particularly in a world where there are so many distractions and things on our ‘to do’ lists. However, mindfulness is essential to healing.
Here is a great TedX talk about mindfulness and meditation which highlights the benefits.
There are many ways to develop a practice of mindfulness in your daily life; from taking the time to experience five minutes of mindful breathing to shutting off the external distractions once a day to experience ourselves. A daily practice can be formal or informal. It can be small rituals you develop to create pauses in your life. You don’t have to start with committing to 45 minutes on the meditation pillow. Start small and go from there.
I find it helpful to start with audios and small concrete steps that you can take. Following are some wonderful resources on the web that you can help you develop a more consistent practice.
(These are only suggestions and should not be taken as endorsements, try them if you wish and determine for yourself if they work for you.)
Tara Brach has many wonderful free downloads including her podcast on her site. She wrote Radical Acceptance and I highly recommend it for those looking to be more mindful of the patterns and reactions in their lives.
A few more sites with free audios to try.
Self Compassion meditations from Self-Compassion.org
University of Vermont, mindfulness center
Yoga~Nidra has been very helpful to many of my psychotherapy clients. Yoga~Nidra is a deep restorative meditation. Much like the end of a yoga class in shavasana, Yoga~Nidra is a technique to deeply relax your body. There are many CD’s and audios that you can purchase. There are a few on the web for you to try.
Here is a free download from yoga journal that you can try to see if you like the practice.
For young children, there are many activities they can do to cultivate mindfulness and relaxation. They can work on blowing bubbles with a slow and gentle breath. Deep belly breaths with a stuffed animal on their abdomen, which they can watch going up and down as they breathe. Here is a good article on meditation and children from Yoga Journal.
I find that children do well with audio meditations which include creative visualizations. There are several audios out there that can be purchased, but just finding a simple script to read to your child at bedtime can be helpful.
The key with children is co-regulation. Engage in the practice with them and it will not only promote relaxation but attachment as well.