When you have a child with complex needs, life can be complicated, hectic and you may have little time or energy to take on new or different things. Accessing groups or activities outside of the home may just not be possible. This page is dedicated to enhancing your family's well-being through mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation focusing on the present moment, thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It has the potential to improve mental wellbeing by increasing awareness of unhelpful thoughts. Mindfulness can be seamlessly integrated into everyday activities, such as dressing, brushing teeth, making tea, eating, housework, and walking. Explore mindfulness techniques through the following exercises:
How to be mindful
Concentrate on a single activity
Focus on sensations and sounds
Be aware of your surroundings
Acknowledge and gently return your mind to the present
Other simple exercises
- Observe your breath for 3 cycles, focusing on the abdomen, chest, or nose during inhalation or exhalation.
- Tune into bodily sensations for another 3 cycles.
- Pay attention to environmental sounds for the next 3 cycles.
- Repeat as desired.
- Also check out this video by Dr Joanna Griffin - Parent Carers - breathing exercise for looking after yourself (without guilt)
- Settle into an upright position.
- Ground yourself by sweeping attention from the soles of your feet to the top of your head, connecting with your body.
- Direct attention to the sensation of breathing. Count each breath from 1 to 10.
- Notice wandering thoughts, feelings, or sensations. Label them with the first descriptor that comes to mind. Gently return focus to the breath, restarting the count at 1.
- Gradually increase duration, up to 35 minutes, twice a day.
Resources for children and teens
Book and story recommendations
Resources for adults
- Mindfulness in 8 weeks - Michael Chaskalson
- Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment - Robert Wright
- Full Catastrophe Living: how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation - Jon Kabat-Zinn
- The Miracle of Mindfulness: The classic guide to meditation - Thich Nhat Hanh