Meditation Myths that Can Hinder You and Your Anxious Child

meditating-boyImagine a place where you and your anxious kid are sensationally serene without a worry in the world or a care furrowed on your forehead. That place can be yours every day if you practice mindfulness and meditation, both of which we explain in detail in our Parents Guide to Teaching Mindfulness to Anxious Children, inclusive of the many benefits.

So what’s stopping you or your anxious child from even trying it? Perhaps one of the myriad myths or misconceptions surrounding meditation and mindfulness may be to blame.

Stop Believing the Myths

It’s religious or only for monks. You have to be a saint or a holy man or even a Buddhist to do it. While such folks may have discovered the power of and regularly practice mindfulness meditation, anyone can do it. There is no religious connection unless you want one as you a free to meditate on or be mindful of anything you so choose.

It’s for hippies. The stereotypical hippie deep in meditation with a headband and a tie-dye may be an image stuck in your mind, but that image has been updated as vehemently as bell bottoms have. If there are any hippies left, they could certainly benefit from meditation, but so can the stay-at-home mom, the carpenter dad, the CEO, the ballerina or anyone else who wants it.

It takes hours a day. You can notice a difference in how you look at things and how you feel in as few as five minutes. Regular practice can make a huge impact without spending a huge amount of time every day.

It’s about “blanking out your mind” or going into a trance. On the contrary, mindfulness meditation is about making your mind acutely aware of things, not snuffing them out. You become especially attuned to present sensations, thoughts and emotions.

It’s about suppressing thoughts. Anyone who has tried suppressing thoughts in any situation knows it doesn’t work too well. Meditation doesn’t even attempt it. It can instead teach you to be aware of your thought process so you can better understand and accommodate it. It can also teach you how to let thoughts ebb and flow through your mind without the panicked need to grab onto or worry about every single one.

It’s running away from reality or escapism. Since you already know that part of the gist is becoming more aware of the world around you and your place in it, escapism hardly seems a definition that fits.

It’s selfish. Here we go with the guilt trip about doing something good for yourself. Meditation can produce results that are the exact opposite of selfishness. Your new sense of serenity, calmness and being one with the world can actually prompt you and your anxious child to be more caring, giving and compassionate to everyone and everything around you.

You need to sit in the lotus position or chant “Om.” Any comfortable sitting position will do for meditation. Some recommend a straight back chair with your feet firmly on the floor, a far cry from the lotus position. Chanting is optional, and you can even make animal noises or other sounds if it will help your anxious kid with the concept.

I’m too busy or anxious or restless to meditate. You may be very busy, very anxious and very restless, but you can correct all three of those myths. Carve out a small piece of time on your schedule and make meditation a priority. Sit through the anxiety or restlessness that may plague you when you first begin, knowing that it will subside as you practice. Not only will you and your anxious child have less anxiety or restlessness in your meditation sessions, but you will find you have less of it in daily life.