How to introduce mindfulness to your family

As a parent, it’s common to have little time for yourself. But if you can find just a few minutes a day to practice mindfulness, your mind and body — and family — will thank you.

Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present, aware of our emotions, and not overreact to what may be going on around us. If that sounds humorous or unattainable to you right now, the good news is that, like with most things, you get better with practice.

Practicing mindfulness has real health benefits. It’s been shown to improve sleep, lower stress, improve attention, help maintain a healthy weight, manage chronic pain, and alleviate mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.

And the benefits aren’t just limited to adults. Kids also enjoy many of the same positive effects, which is particularly important in the time of COVID-19 when they don’t have access to their usual social circles and support networks.

Curious what mindfulness looks like in practice? Here are a few sites we enthusiastically recommend for both newbies and veterans alike.

Headspace teaches the essentials of meditation and mindfulness, with added options for bite-sized minis for when you’re short on time, exercises to add extra mindfulness to your day, and hundreds of meditations on everything from stress to sleep.

UCLA’s Guided Meditations (English and Spanish)
Diana Winston, the Director of Mindfulness Education at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, leads an introduction to mindfulness meditation that you can practice on your own schedule.

Mindful Schools
Mindful Schools hosts real-time online mindfulness classes focused on K-5 students, with students and adults of all ages welcome to participate.

Calm is a meditation, sleep, and relaxation app, available in both the App Store and Google Play store.

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