‘Make of yourself a light,’
said the Buddha,before he died.


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I think of this every morning as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds of darkness…
(From House of Light by Mary Oliver)

There’s no excuse for not giving mindfulness a go. It’s benefits are many and its dangers few…if any even exist at all! A full list of the positive effects are well beyond the scope of this article, but chief amongst them are improved mental and physical health, better concentration and an easing of day-to-day anxieties. For both you and your children.

Here are three little mindful exercises. Try them for a while and see if you notice any tangible effects in your day-to-day life. They’re also perfect to try with your children.

Slowing Down

Next time you’re engaged in a common place activity with your child, try slowing down what you’re doing…gently, carefully and with your full attention. Bring mindfulness to the nuances of each act: the sensations of your fingers, the visual and auditory aspects, the feel of your


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body moving. You might be surprised at a depth of experience that had previously gone unnoticed. If you’re doing it with a child, asking them to describe their experience afterwards can be a great way of making this little practice interesting.

Mindful Eating

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” Thich Nhat Hanh


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This is one that’s especially applicable to breakfast, for both parents and children. It follows on naturally from the first exercise, in that it involves a slowing down of our activity. We can focus on every sensory aspect of the food in our mouth, every movement of our the muscles in our face. Another benefit is that it sets a tone for the day ahead. For our kids, it can be one of the easiest prompts to a more aware, acceptance-filled day.

Body-Scan Before Dinner or Before Bed-time

Though we might not notice it, both our own and our children’s bodies can build tension throughout the day. A small period of relaxation, just before dinner, can be a wonderful way of letting it go. It can also be a good opportunity to use guided meditations and music.


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Beginning at your feet, simple focus on each part of your body – shins, thighs, buttocks, belly, chest, arms, hands, neck and face – allowing it to loosen and relax. Spend as much or as little time on each one as you want.