Adi and I had the privilege to sit down and talk to Ashley Graber on this week’s IGNTD podcast all about mindfulness. (Listen to the talk here!) We got into all of it! From mindfulness tips expecting mamas can do to carry mindfulness way beyond the womb into your home. Tips for creating space to come together as a family and how to live more mindfully, even as a kid!
Anyone who knows me and follows me on social media knows I’m all about being a mindful and present mama and I’ve tried to instill the same practice in my boys. Noa will get there, but she’s only 4 months! It’s so hard to get the boys to stay still and focus inward. They love going to yoga and meditating with me when there are no distractions. Still, when you’re growing + experiencing this vast world the emotions that come in can be a LOT and having the tips + tools Ashley gave us on the podcast will be AMAZING to implement into our lives.
Photo courtesy of Energy Muse
One of the biggest tools she advised to try out was creating a Mind Jar. A mind jar/clarity jar is a physical tool that can allow kids to concentrate on their emotions and practice peace and stillness for merely a minute.
Ashley explains, “the jar represents the mind, the glitter represents thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. When we shake it up this represents when we are overwhelmed, stressed, upset, and/or overly excited to the point that we cannot see clearly. Our perception becomes cloudy. We can be more "reactive" to life from this place, as opposed to "responsive". It can feel like there is a storm inside and unsteady. To help balance and steady ourselves we can practice coming to our senses...literally...with focusing on one of our senses.”
Ashley advises to label each glitter with an emotion, making it super fun to come up with them together and have the discussion about why each color represents that particular emotion. Here’s how to make your own.
Jar with a good lid (i.e. mason jar)
Hot + cold water
Glitter of different sizes (larger & fine) + different colors (for different emotions)
Put a generous amount of glitter glue in the jar. Add just enough hot water to cover the glue and shake up to break up the glitter glue then add cold water almost about ¾ of the way to the top. Next, add glitter of the desired color and different sizes. Fill with cold water to the top and SHAKE. Time it to see how slow or fast it settles and adjust accordingly. It should take 1 minute to settle and become clear again. If it’s too fast add glitter glue + hot water. If it’s too slow, pour out some of the water and add fresh cold water.
NOTE: Do not use red glitter – it stains the water
The important thing is that this mind jar it’s not to be used as punishment or suggested at a time when you, as a parent, are reactive and frustrated. We discussed using it at the dinner table when you’re gathered as a family or right before bedtime to relax your kiddos. Light some palo santo, sit together as a family, and have each kid take turns shaking the jar.
Besides this super awesome mind jar technique, we’ve also begun using a Feelings Wheel in our home. You can find the photo below on Google here or print it out from this post. We tape it to our fridge and whenever either of the kids is going through some particularly rough and are having trouble communicating what’s going on inside them then they can look to the wheel. Being able to label what may be going on inside them is already settling and makes the problem easier to manage. It helps us too! Sometimes we just need to say out loud that “I’m frustrated” or “I’m feeling abandoned” it makes the emotion manageable.
Being mindful doesn’t mean you need to do yoga every day, meditate for two hours and travel all over the whole on soul-searching retreats. Sometimes it’s as simple as breathing slowly for 5 minutes, or labeling what each wave of emotion you’re feeling, or making a jar full of glitter and shaking it up.
How do you practice mindfulness in your day-to-day? If you have kids, what tools do you use to teach them mindfulness? Share with me on Twitter using #PhilosophieLove or #MyPhilosophie.