Mindfulness Practice

Transitions can be tricky, and it takes some practice to adjust to circumstances that are beyond our control. Whether it’s watching your child graduate from kindergarten, starting a new job, or getting used to a post-pandemic world, transitions can be overwhelming for most people.

During this phase, transitioning from one type of life to another, complex emotions often arise that make us feel overwhelmed, anxious, worried, or frustrated. I have been practicing mindfulness for over ten years now and still have a lot to learn. However, I can honestly state that the practice of Zen meditation, yoga and mindfulness has helped me tremendously with a myriad of transitions in my life.

Mindfulness–the practice of being aware, moment by moment–has gained a lot of attention in our society. Practicing mindfulness, yoga, meditation and any other type of relaxation techniques (such as walking in nature, reiki, or just taking some quiet time to center and care for yourself) can help us become aware of our thoughts without clinging to them. This practice can also help us develop right action: the ability to act instead of reacting to circumstances in our daily lives.

Numerous studies have shown that the practice of mindfulness can help us achieve equanimity in our daily lives. A scientific study from Harvard University provides some helpful information on mindfulness: meditation seems to be effective on the brains of clinically depressed patients. It is important to note that mindfulness is a practice that doesn’t substitute cognitive behavioral therapy or medication. Mindfulness is simply another tool that can be added to our daily routines.

A simple practice of five minutes of meditation a day can be helpful for caregivers and their families. You can check out the video below, as well as the recommended books and websites for more information on mindfulness and how to develop a meditation practice with your family.

Recommended Reads:

Good Morning Yoga by Mariam Gates
For children in grades 1-3.
Library Collection: Print / OverDrive
This is a wonderful book that introduces children to the world of yoga. Using rhyme and a mantra (a word repeated to aid concentration in meditation) children will learn to breathe deep and open their arms wide to the sky. As they breathe they become a lightning bolt flashing across the sky, a mountain, quiet and still, or a gentle stream flowing downhill. If you would like to incorporate a practice of yoga and or meditation, Good Morning Yoga is a colorful book filled with fun ways to discover the practice of yoga.

Mindful Games for Kids by Kristina Marcelli-Saegent
For Children in grades 4-8.
Library Collection: Print
Mindful Games for Kids provides caretakers and their families with a myriad of fun activities that allow children to become mindful in a fun way. Children can become positivity magnets through a wonderful visualization, create a magic wand, or draw a full heart, including people and things that make them happy. Every single activity allows children to concentrate on their “magic breath” as they envision themselves in their safe color or singing their emotions.

Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Stacy Peterson
For children in grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print
Mindful Me is a wonderful book that explores the practice of mindfulness for older children. The book includes frequently asked questions, journal prompts, and wonderful suggestions for kids who are struggling with confidence and negative emotions. Other activities include mind clearing, observing your thoughts, as well as mind drawing. Mind drawing is an exercise where your child can work on mental focus and concentration by drawing something they enjoy looking at. Whether you have a creative child who might benefit from this practice or you want to work with your own inner child, Mindful Me can be a wonderful tool to learn the basics of mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness for Kids by Carole P. Roman and J. Robin Albertson-Wren
For children in grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print
Mindfulness for Kids is another great book that teaches kids how to process emotions, deal with stressful situations, bullies, and negative behaviors. The book also takes a scientific approach, breaking down the parts of a brain such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. Did you know that when you practice mindfulness, you are training your brain? Mindfulness exercises help the amygdala (emotional healing), the hippocampus (memory,) and the prefrontal cortex (focus.) Mindfulness helps you program your own brain so you can react better to situations. This is a wonderful book that introduces mindfulness in a fun and approachable way.

Guts by Rania Telgemeier
For children in grades 4-8.
Library Collection: Print / OverDrive
From Kirkus review: “with young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.” (Graphic memoir. 8-12).

Mindfulness Websites:

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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