The last two speakers on the Mindfulness Summit have been lovely but I haven't taken as many notes for some reason. Yesterday Australian Mirabai Bush was interviewed by Melli (summit organiser) - she was an older woman who has been practicing and teaching (on a grand scale) mindfulness for years and years.
She really just told her story which was so interesting - how she got started in India. How she has taught mindfulness in many organisations etc..
Had some good practical techniques..
1) before you send an email take two deep mindful breaths. Then re-read the email and change it or send anyway.. but you gave yourself a bit of distance
2) Use daily reminders about mindfulness.. choose something like a particular door handle and every time you reach for it remind yourself to stop and take pause of your body in space, gravity holding you on the ground, your aliveness etc etc..
3) Mindful walking she does a lot of and highly recommends. Slow walking focussing on all of your senses and what they are taking in while you walk.
Then today the interview was with Kristen Race from the States. She is a brain scientist and has written a book called 'Mindful Parenting' and has done a Ted talk here. She was cool and had some good practical tips for how to help people with parenting mindfully.
Apparently the best thing we can do is work on ourselves - because everything starts with the parents (no pressure!) and stress is contagious. So work on yourself and your own responses to things, trying to do them mindfully and calmly and that alone will have an impact on your kids.
But if you need to do more direct mindfulness work with the kids (which she recommends) she had some practice tips..
1) The 3-breath hug. Good for times of high stress. Hug your child (if they will let you) and take 3 deep slow breaths together. Even if they don't do the slow breaths they will fee yours and get the gist of the breath being there to ground yourself and the breath being a tool.
2) Tell or show them what stress does to the brain. The little nuggets inside the brain (Thalamus & Amygdala - Limbic System) that gets triggered and puts you in 'fight or flight mode' .. pushing aside the thinking part at the front (Pre Frontal Cortex). This happens because the Limbic system reacts faster and can be more powerful than the Pre Frontal Cortex. We flip our lids and lose the plot and forget all the smart tools we know...
3) Stress like a fire in the brain .. the breath being powerful to put it out (like blowing out a birthday candle). Get kids to hold their hands in front of the mouth and breath three times as if blowing out a birthday candle. Also a good exercise when you meet your fingertips of both hands down at the belly level and stretch them into a big ball when you breath in then pinch them down tight when you breath out. I just tried this with my kids! It works to focus them on the breath....
4) Gratitude jar at the dinner table. Little bits of paper to write positive things. Also daily 'Rose, Thorn & Bud' Rose = something positive from the day. Thorn = mistake you learned from. Bud = act of kindness witnessed
Lots of good stuff! Might get her book from the library...
Love, Mrs D xxx