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How meditation can help make families happier

24 Jul 2019 | Katlyn Peters

Family Meditating

One in four parents feel that they don't get to spend enough time with their children every day, owing to long working hours, lengthy commutes and sheer tiredness at the end of the working day.

Children, too, can find that their day is super busy, with homework, gadgets and extra-curricular activities taking up much of the little free time they have. If you would like to increase the quality and quantity of your bonding time with kids, why not meditate together as a family?

Meditation has many powerful benefits, with recent research showing it is able to dramatically reduce stress, boost mood and improve overall well-being.  Mindfulness meditation in particular can teach parents and children to simply be in the here and now, celebrating the joy of being together, every single day.

Family Together

Getting the Family Excited about Meditation

Children and adults are motivated by different things, so getting your partner and your kids interested in meditation will most probably require a different approach. Share a few interesting scientific facts with both.

A stressed partner, for instance, may be fascinated to know that meditation can boost attention, emotional regulation and self-control. Studious children, on the other hand, may be delighted to learn that medication can help boost their performance at school.

Meanwhile, family members who are already very connected with their inner world, may love to hear about people who have experienced a powerful spiritual connection while meditating, which can leave them feeling more peaceful and distant from the worries and stressors.

The First Session

Building up the concentration required for meditation takes time. Therefore, start small and make it more about fun than achievement.

There are lots of great apps that lead you through activities that last as little as five minutes, such as Headspace, Calm, Breathe and 10% Happier. All of these apps not only have meditation sessions of various lengths, but also have targeted activities for anxiety, sleep and relaxation.

Kids In Grass

The first session can involve simply learning the art of controlled (or pranayamic) breathing. This involves inhaling for a specific number of seconds and exhaling for an even longer time. Did you know that controlled breathing can help stave off depression? It can also stop an anxiety attack in its tracks. Therefore, knowing how to breathe can be a big help to children throughout their lifetime.

Meditation Activities for Children

If you have young children, it is definitely worth investing a small amount in a dedicated children's meditation album. Best-selling albums include Enchanted Meditations for Kids and Bedtime Meditation for Kids. These albums contain various scripted story meditations with beautiful calming sound effects, gentle music and the soothing voice of a narrator, that is very relaxing for children and parents.

Try to find an hour during which everyone in the house knows it is time to meditate. This will give you the time you need to hone your skills and even to try out different types of meditation. After your session, you will probably find that you and your kids are more relaxed, centred and content. Meditation can therefore be seen as a way to shed the day's tensions and focus on the things that really make life worth living - the people we love.

 

 

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Katlyn Peters came across meditation while trying to find a way to quell exam anxiety at college. Since then she has used it at work, with her husband, and now with their daughters too.

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Mindfulness changes your brain

Recent research has shown that an 8 week mindfulness meditation class can lead to structural brain changes including increased grey-matter density in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory, and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.

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