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Mindfulness For Parents And Teenagers

Practical Exercises To Teach Mindfulness And Serenity

Adolescence is the delicate phase in which the parent-child relationship is put to the hardest test, in which one is called to recreate the terms of a mutual contact, sometimes due to frustrating misunderstandings and painful estrangements. What would change if we managed to go through this age by continuing to remember that in the cracks of the fracture lives the light of the evolution of love between parents and children, even beyond what we are now capable of recognizing? 

It is a perspective that requires the courage to continue to trust and the development of resources of insight, awareness and poise to hold the wheel in the midst of the storm. Mindfulness can help us with some simple but powerful exercises to cultivate in daily life. A few minutes of practice a day are enough to introduce seeds of transformation in one’s way of reacting to difficulties, discovering new inner spaces of calm, and the creative clarity to take care of the changes and nurture yourself in the relationship.

Exercise 1: A Lesson In Attention

To cultivate mindfulness, grounding and concentration for 5-10 minutes. The exercise can be performed in a sitting, supine or walking position. 

  1. Assume a comfortable position and intentionally bring your attention to perceiving all the parts of your body that are in contact with the support surface: the soles of your feet on the ground if you are sitting or walking, your buttocks when sitting, the back of your legs and back if you are lying down. Thoroughly explore all the touchpoints present. Let this listening root your body in what is supporting it, the ground, the chair, the mat…
  2. Now bring your attention to focus on listening to your breath going in and out of your body until you feel that your mind has come to settle right here as well
  3. Now bring your attention to identifying 5 sounds that reach your ears moment by moment
  4. In succession, bring your attention to perceiving 5 visual objects available to your gaze
  5. Now focus your attention on 5 tactile sensations that are produced at this moment (such as the contact of the skin with clothes or the air or the contact of body parts with each other…)
  6. Now shift the focus to 5 available olfactory sensations
  7. Finally, bring your attention to grasp 5 gustatory sensations (for example, a flavor already present in the mouth…)

Exercise 2: SOS Breath

To defuse the cascade of impulsive reactions and not get carried away by difficult emotions

3 minutes. The exercise can be done during any activity, especially when you feel overwhelmed by the emergence of a stressful experience when you are in the eye of your reactivity storm, when you feel out of control or at an impasse.

  1. Suspend the action you are in for a few moments: postpone the time of an answer or a subsequent move by even a few seconds
  2. In this break, feel what is happening in your body at this exact moment. Perhaps a part of it is particularly activated or is expressing particular sensations 
  3. Again attention to the breath: follow the physical sensations produced by the inhalation and exhalation. In which parts of the body are you feeling them? In the nostrils, chest, abdomen? Gently with each inhalation, try to bring the flow of breath lower, inside the abdomen, perceiving its walls that welcome and let go of the air with each breath
  4. Do this for 3 mindful breaths
  5. You may find it helpful to say these words inwardly: With each inhalation, “I inhale and calm the body.” With each exhalation: “I exhale and let go.”
  6. Notice what is now manifesting in your behavior

Exercise 3: The Parade Of Thoughts

To learn to recognize thoughts as thoughts and free themselves from their conditioning power 

5-10 minutes.

  1. Assume a comfortable position, and make contact with the reality of your body at this moment, relying on the sensations in which you feel the body touch the support surfaces and on the sensations of the body passing through the breath
  2. Gently close your eyes
  3. Imagine taking a seat in front of a screen or the scene of a show. Everything that will happen in the life of the mind from this moment will pass before your eyes, and all you have to do is observe, like a spectator witness
  4. Images, dialogues, memories, music and the infinite other ways through which thoughts take shape arrive
  5. Try to observe them as they pass before your eyes. Here come one and flows, as in a parade, and others flock and continue to take their course. You watch them and let their parade continue
  6. If you find yourself immersed in the show, captured by the thoughts themselves, as soon as you realize it, take a small step out of the scene, anchoring yourself to your breath, and go back to observing inside your mind
  7. Take a few moments not to dialogue with thoughts, not to try to modify or resolve them, to realize that they are thoughts and see how they are made, in what form they manifest themselves, what consistency they have and how long they last
  8. Conclude the practice with 3 conscious breaths

Exercise 4: The Gratitude Tree

Draw the trunk of a large tree on paper.  The branches will emerge luxuriant day by day from this practice:  Dedicate a moment of the day every day, for example, before going to bed, to formulate a thought of gratitude towards a parent/child and write it down on your sheet as a branch of the gratitude tree “I am grateful for…” Continue this practice every day for as long as you want. As your tree comes to life, you will cultivate an attitude of appreciation and openness of heart.


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