How to Use Mindfulness to Reduce Anxiety for the Entire Family

The combination of anxious children, stressed-out parents, an ongoing pandemic and the upcoming holidays can turn the entire household into a pressure cooker waiting to explode. But there is a way to release the pressure. It’s a simple practice called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a state of being in which you experience total awareness of the present moment. Instead of letting your mind race into the past or future, you focus on the here and now. The aim is to calmly acknowledge and accept your present thoughts, sensations and feelings without judging or attempting to change anything.

We discuss mindfulness at length in our Parents Guide to Teaching Mindfulness to Children with Anxiety, but it’s not just anxious children who can benefit. Mindfulness can be highly beneficial – and even fun – for the entire family.

Mindfulness Techniques for Anxious Children and Parents

With the power to reduce stress and enhance your mood with a minimal investment of time or effort, mindfulness practices can be peppered throughout you and your anxious children’s day. Here are five mindfulness techniques you can weave into your regular routine as desired.

Draw, Doodle or Color

There’s a reason coloring books have become popular for children as well as adults. Coloring, doodling and drawing bring your attention to the task in front of you while getting our creative juices flowing. Make it a family event with a batch of coloring books you can swap and share as you wish.

Turn Household Chores into Mindful Activities

Rather than focusing on getting through a task as quickly as possible, focus on what you’re doing during the task. Pay acute attention to each whisk of the broom, sweep of the vacuum or towel wipe of the dish. Turn on some energizing music and dance while you and your children get tasks done.

Try Mindful Eating

Instead of rushing through breakfast or scarfing down lunch, have your family take in its next meal mindfully. This involves really paying attention to the different tastes, temperatures and textures of the food as you’re consuming it. Give it a try by asking family members to spend the first few moments of a meal silently experiencing the sensations of the food in their mouth.

Look at the Sky

Whether you’re gazing at the stars, the sunrise, the sunset, or the billowing clouds at high noon, simply looking up at the sky and taking a few deep breaths can do wonders. It not only pulls you into the present moment, but it likewise reminds that life is much bigger than your individual worries or concerns.

Wish Happiness upon Others

It’s easy to complain or moan about other people – but something magical happens when you wish happiness upon them instead. You and your anxious children can choose to randomly wish happiness to people throughout the day. Get extra credit if you can wish happiness on someone who annoyed or upset you.

These five mindfulness practices make a great start into what could be a more mindful – and less stressful – way of living. It really is that easy. The key is to be consistent, ensuring you start by spending at least five minutes each day in a mindful state. Then let the habits and benefits grow from there.