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The 5 Minute Meditation Break for Parents

The 5 Minute Meditation Break for Parents

 

 

Parents may be one of the most stressed groups of people, after air traffic controllers! Each day brings a jumble of stressors like seemingly endless demands on their time, a lack of connection with other adults, managing children’s activities and needs, and much more. And parents have told me one of their biggest stressors is doubt about their parenting. They want to create the best possible loving, supportive, creative world for their kids.

 And pretty much every parent has moments they regret, when the stresses of daily life took their toll and they fell short of their own vision of “a good parent.” They were impatient or inattentive and, in a small way, weren’t present for their child. And that hurts.

 We’ve all heard people say, “You need to take time for yourself.” Parents’ eyes roll when they hear this and think, “Easy for you to say!”

 Nevertheless, I’d like to share with you a mini meditation practice I created especially for parents. All you need to start is five minutes in your day and a desire to rest and rejuvenate so you can be “at your best” with your family.

 You may think that nothing of value could happen in five minutes. But, time moves differently when you’re meditating and connecting with your deep self. 

 

Kids can benefit from meditation too! Learn how to introduce meditation to your child in our blog post Mindfulness For Kids.

 

HOW STRESS AFFECTS YOU

I think it’s helpful to know that stresses in your life affect your body, mind and spirit. These aspects of you are so interconnected that what affects one, affects them all–for better or worse. You can feel physically exhausted, mentally unable to face another problem or disconnected from yourself. The good news is meditation can help you to balance and strengthen the whole you. 

 Stress has a double-edged effect. On the one hand, it overloads your system. You’re stuffed with information and energy through your experiences–and no one more than parents! At the same time, this overload depletes you. 

 Meditation is a way to heal both of these effects by: 

  • allowing this excess to dissolve and release, and
  • filling that reclaimed space with your best self or spirit–or whatever you may like to call your essential self

 When this happens, you’re more open, resourceful, creative and caring. 

 

Meditating on an Ajnamat has the added benefits of relief from pain and tension, and the release of mood boosting endorphins!

YOUR MINI PRACTICE

This is a deceptively simple meditation practice. It’s a complete experience of letting go and replenishing when you really engage with it. Here’s how you do it.

 

1 | Breath and Body

  • Sit in a position that feels both relaxed and alert. 
  • Pay attention to the physical sensations of your breath in one particular part of your body. It might be the coolness or warmth at your nostrils, the sensation in your throat or the rise and fall of your belly. Choose the place that feels most vivid and easy for you to stay with.
  • Keep your attention on the physical sensations there and, if your attention drifts to something else, it’s ok. Just gently bring it back to your breath.

 

 2 | Mind and Heart

  • When a thought or emotion comes up for you, which it almost surely will, don’t see it as a problem or something you need to push away. 
  • Try imagining it as a cloud floating by in a vast blue sky or a leaf resting on a stream slowly drifting by.
  • Again, bring your attention gently back to how your breath feels right now.

 

3 | Silence, Space or Spirit

  • As you feel your breath, start to notice the gaps. There’s a short pause after you inhale and before you exhale. And, after you exhale and before you inhale.
  • Shift your attention from the breath sensations, to the silent, still spaces in each breath. 
  • Feel that silence and stillness. Rest in it. 
  • You may find yourself becoming absorbed in that silence. It’s always there underneath all your experiences that come and go.

 

4 | Mantra

When you feel connected to this silence, begin to say a simple mantra that feels right to you–silently or out loud. Here are some variations:

  • I rest my body in this silence.
  • I renew my body in this silence.
  • I nourish my body in this silence.
  • My body is this silence.

 

Or:

  • I rest/renew/nourish/identify my mind/heart with this silence.
  • I rest/renew/nourish/identify my mind/heart with this silence.
  • My mind/heart is this silence.

 

Or:

The Sanskrit mantra, “So Hum” which means “I am that.” I am that silence.

 

SUMMARY OF THE PRACTICE

  • Connect with the physical sensations of your breath.
  • Do your best to let thoughts or emotions come and go, and bring your attention back to your breath.
  • Begin to pay attention to the spaces within your breath.
  • Immerse yourself in that silence and let it nourish you.
  • Finish with contemplating a mantra.

 

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

This meditation is a journey inward from the multiplicity of your day to the simplicity of your centre. When you first try the practice, it may take more than five minutes. But, with a bit of practice, it will become easier because it’s a journey your body, mind and spirit are yearning to make. Watch for what feels right to you and adjust the practice as you like.

 Think of one or two times each day you can claim five minutes. It can be easiest to start with a few minutes before you get into bed or before you get up in the morning.

 When you connect with this practice and see how it changes your state of body, mind and spirit, you may want to devote more time to letting go and rejuvenating yourself in silence.

 Enjoy the journey.

 

 

 

About the author-

Ann Vrlak is Founder of OneSelf Meditation and a meditation practitioner for over 25 years. She’s a Certified Meditation Teacher for adults and for children (the best job ever!). She loves to share how the perspective and practice of meditation can support people with their everyday stresses, as well as places of deep dissatisfaction and disconnection.



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