• Dr. Luisa Bryce

Mindful Mommy: Going against the grain in a society of multi-taskers

It’s that time of year again… school is starting, the leaves are changing, and the carefree days of summer are over. As a mom you’re probably feeling a mix of emotions about having the kids in school again. You’re likely relieved you’ll have some time to yourself, excited about what the new school year will bring, and sad you won’t be able to spend the day with your kiddos. For many moms, however, the emotion that tops the cake is worry. Worry thoughts fill the heads of mothers and seem to multiple instantly, worries such as “Will my child make friends? Will my child be bullied? What if my child isn’t safe at school? What if my child doesn’t like the teacher? What will I do if my child struggles academically this year?” The list is endless, and let’s face it, as a mom, it’s your job to worry about your kids. So how do you control that worry? How to you rein it in so you don’t stress out and become completely overwhelmed? It’s quite a challenge. However, one concept that may help is the practice of mindfulness, or being completely present in the moment. JonKabat-Zinn, a teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts, defines mindfulness as follows:

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

As a busy mom, you don’t have to meditate to benefit from mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply being aware and present in the moment. Instead of thinking about what just happened or what may happen, focus on the present. Easier said than done, right? Try focusing just on your breath. As you get the kids ready for school in the morning, focus on breathing in and out, fully and slowly, and just focus on the task at hand. If you’re making your kiddos breakfast, for example, just focus on pouring the cereal or spreading the peanut butter on the bread. Notice each movement your hand makes with the butter knife or focus on the sound of the cereal hitting the bowl. If you have a random worry thought, just notice. Watch it pass though your mind like a cloud passing through the sky.

If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness, check out the many readings of Thich NhatHanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, and peace activist.Below is a quote from Nhat Hanh:

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

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