The Liz Morrison Therapy team attended PS 116's Healthy Lifestyles Event. The Healthy Lifestyles event was a free event for school children and their families to teach about healthy eating choices, exercise, and mindfulness. Practice Owner, Liz Morrison spoke to the community about Mindfulness and how it can help children.
Here are some highlights from the event and from Liz's presentation:
How Mindfulness Helps Children:
Mindfulness can reduce stress and anxiety and other emotions that get in the way of tasks and goals.
Being mindful allows for better sleep habits.
Mindfulness increases focus and attention.
Being mindful can help children have more meaningful relationships.
Mindfulness improves confidence and emotional resilience.
Mindfulness can lead to happier children.
How You Can Incorporate Mindfulness at Home:
Encourage “Brain Breaks”
Ask your child to take a deep breath and calm themselves for three to five minutes to quiet their minds, be present, and just focus. This can be encouraged during homework time, during stressful situations, or simply when transitioning from one activity to the next.
Create a Calming Jar
20% glue, 80% water, and as much glitter or sparkly objects you feel comfortable with. Put all together in a jar and glue the lid shut. Shake it and tell your child that sometimes our minds are full of thoughts, swirling around like the glitter in the jar. When we are in control of our thoughts, we can calm them just like when the glitter settles in the jar.
Help your child tune into their senses by asking them to look at a raisin and then put it in their mouth. Then ask them to describe what they saw when holding it, the flavors, textures, and memories associated with the feeling. This is mindful eating.
Practice Belly Breathing
Place one hand on the chest and one on the belly. As you inhale, fill up the belly like a balloon and as you exhale, allow the balloon to deflate. This often feels counter intuitive at first, as most of us breathe shallowly into the chest most of the time. Belly breathing automatically turns on the relaxation response in the body.
Go on a Mindful Walk
Walk around the block and take turns noticing things you have never seen before. Try to acknowledge sounds, sights, smells, etc.
Squish and Let Go
Clench your fists and let go, tense stomach muscles together and let go, clench toes and let go. Then ask your child how it felt to tense and up and then how it felt to let it go. This activity helps your child acknowledge their feelings and be more present.
For more information about Liz Morrison Therapy contact Liz@LizMorrisonTherapy.com.