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Coping Skill: Take a Mindful Walk
Where you can use it:
home, school, outdoors, indoors
Why It Helps:
Mindfulness can be a helpful tool if you have a hard time managing your thoughts and emotions or if you want to improve your concentration. Mindfulness is being aware of what’s happening in the present moment. It’s not about trying to clear your mind, but allowing thoughts and emotions to come and go without judgment and familiarizing ourselves with the present moment. It takes practice to be able to do this. When you are aware of the present, you will be more able to see what’s happening around you and settle yourself and your mind more easily. It takes practice, but here is a simple way to do it.
How to do it:
Any time you take a walk either at home or at school, you can choose to make it a mindful walk. Before you begin, set your mind to pay attention to your senses. When you are walking, you are going to be paying attention to what you hear, what you see, what you feel and what you smell.
So, for instance, if you are walking in a woods by a bubbling brook and leaves are on the trail, you may hear crunching leaves and water moving in the stream.
You may see trees and leaves falling from the trees when the wind blows.
You may feel a breeze on your skin.
You may smell earth, grass and scents from flowering plants.
Pay attention to what’s happening with your senses. If other thoughts come into your mind, that’s okay. Go back to the present and re-focus on what your senses again. See if you can do this for 5 minutes - it can be quite a challenge!
Several places online have audio clips of mindfulness exercises, and they’re great to use and practice. Some great books have been written about Mindfulness too.
There are several scripts available from the InnerKids program. I had my daughter try the calming one before she did her homework. She loved it.
Here are a couple of kids activities for mindfulness and feelings. Kristina has also written a book to help kids with mindfulness, Ursula Unwinds Her Anger. My son loved reading through this book with me. He loved looking at the different colors and figuring out what feeling was associated with what color.
I found this resource in Bloom Parenting by Dr. Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young, LMSC, BCD. What a helpful collection of meditation and mindfulness scripts.
My kids love superheroes. This is a great way to use that interest to work on increasing their focus and awareness.