In an increasingly busy world, it’s natural for children (and adults) to sometimes feel overwhelmed. Jacqui Jones, a trained meditation teacher from Greatfulness, shares her advice on how to deal with these emotions with practical thinking.
If you’ve ever found yourself lying awake at night, worrying about something that might never happen, you’ll know your mind can play tricks on you.
Humans tend to have a negative bias, which means our minds are very good at interpreting things in a negative way or viewing a situation as something that could cause us harm (or make us look like idiots!).
And in a world that’s getting busier and busier, it can be incredibly difficult to flow through life without being impacted in some way by stress or anxiety. So how can we teach our children to not worry or get anxious?
Teach kids how to examine their thoughts
The human mind is said to have between 60,000- 70,000 thoughts a day. Excuse the pun, but just think about that!
To give students a visual representation of this, when I’m teaching I ask each student to blow bubbles. Each bubble represents a thought. The students are amazed at how quickly the room fills up with different sized bubbles. Some are big bubbles (which represent the big thoughts or worries) and some are small. Most of us just accept the thoughts that pop into our head; but the real skill lies in examining exactly what you are thinking and why you are thinking it. Once you are aware of the thought, you can work towards changing it so that your thoughts are helping you and not hindering you. Again, I teach the students to try and ‘pop’ the bubbles (thoughts) that are not helping them or making them feel good.
Train your mind
Training your mind through practices such as meditation and creative visualisation are not only helpful, but extremely powerful. Through practices such as these we can start to make positive changes to the way we think which in turn will have a positive influence on our emotions and behaviour. Not good at public speaking? Well next time you have a presentation coming up, rather than tell yourself that you will make a fool of yourself try training your mind to see it as an opportunity to grow and learn. You never know, you might actually be good at it!
Awareness is the first step
Unfortunately, because of the busy lives we lead, we often don’t give ourselves the space we need to stop and pay attention to our thoughts. Try it now. Stop whatever you are doing and just sit for the next two minutes. Watch your thoughts as they come and go and just notice what you are thinking, without judgement. Simply notice. Imagine that each thought is a bubble floating past and eventually popping in its own time. Don’t try to cling or hold on to the bubble.
Eventually through training your mind, you will find that it becomes easier to focus on the things that serve you- the good things and the things that can help make you feel content. With practice, you will also give yourself permission to let go of the negative thoughts and create a sense of space for yourself. Thinking in a way that serves you is a skill. It is a skill that we need to teach our children so that they can literally think themselves into leading successful and fulfilling lives!
Jacqui Jones is running a 6-week program called Ignite, designed for busy mums who want to improve their life, from 1 November in St Leonards. Click here for more details.