These simple mindfulness hacks only take a few minutes, but are an effective way to drag you right back into the present were you belong.
It was Friday and I couldn’t wait for my kids to get home from school to spend some hardy quality time with them.
My oldest son walked in the door and needed help with some math homework. His sister came in “starving”. Then, my youngest son came in kicked his shoes off in opposite directions, tossing his coat on the floor, and dropping his backpack barely inside the door.
My excitement grinded to a halt. The mess, school stress, and yelling pulled me both into the past and the future.
I was ultimately disconnected from that moment, and I hate that feeling.
Are you a parent who sometimes feels a little disconnected? Overwhelmed? Not in the present moment?
Yeah, we all do sometimes.
Let’s talk through 3 super quick ways that parents can return to the present – where they belong.
Also Read: How I Cured Anxiety Without Medication
Why is Mindfulness so Important for Parents?
Mindfulness is about bringing one’s attention to the present moment without judgment. It is a state of full awareness and acceptance of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
Research has shown that regular mindfulness practice offers numerous benefits. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as enhance focus, cognitive abilities, and overall well-being.
This is so important for parents because as they say, “the days are long but the years are short.”
In other words, days are filled with some level of chaos, but if we don’t proactively enjoy these years we will look back in regret.
5 Mindfulness Hacks Designed for Parents
I refer to these methods as mindfulness “hacks” because let’s be honest- we don’t all have time to journal, spend 30 minutes deep breathing, or rolling out the yoga mat each time we feel stressed.
All 5 of these methods can be done in under 60 seconds.
Next time you feel a little lost, these mindfulness activities for moms and dads (or anyone taking care of kids) can help you find moments of calm and relaxation throughout your day:
1) Time Traveler Method
Close your eyes.
Imagine for a second that you are 80 years old, and you were allowed to time travel back to this very moment. Most likely, when you are 80 years old you will reminisce about these days.
When you open your eyes, you will have a new perspective that these days are fleeting and you will miss this. This quick hack will help you look at the current moment softer eyes and new found appreciation.
Related: How to Romanticize Your Life
2) Where are Your Feet Method
The problem the human brain is that it is often NOT where the feet lie.
Though you are physically with your children, your mind is often anywhere but there.
To do the “where are your feet” method, close your eyes and focus on feeling your feet. They will probably feel tingly. Take a few deep breathes while you focus on your feet.
When you open your eyes, you will see your surroundings the way a stranger would. There still may be chaos – but it is your chaos and it is beautiful.
3) Grateful Yell Technique
This method is especially helpful for a stressed and overwhelmed parent on the verge of a breakdown.
Use the frustration in a positive way.
Fake a big smile and loudly yell 3 things you are grateful for. For example, “My family is healthy, we have a roof over our heads, and my kids are happy!”
Also read: Why Mom Guilt is a Lie
4) Ice Water Face Plunge
There is an instinct called the “diving reflex” that occurs when your body is exposed to extreme cold to preserve energy for survival.
Basically, the body physiologically responds to cold water by slowing your breathing and heart rate. Many of these receptors are actually around the face.
Fill up a bowl with ice cold water and submerge your face in it. This quick hack will invigorate your senses, jolt the anxiety away, and bring you back to the moment.
5) Mindful Break
I invented this mindful B.R.E.A.K. method for my kids, but I found that it works great for me, too.
BREAK stands for Breathe- Rest- Empowering Thoughts – Absorb – Knowledge.
It only takes a minute and is easy to remember. For full post, read Mindful Break.
Final Thoughts on Mindfulness Hacks
Let’s all admit that while parenting is amazing, it can be a demanding experience.
Balancing work, household chores, and taking care of children can leave little time for mental health care.
Luckily, these 5 ultra quick and effective hacks can help bring you back to the present – where your kids need you most.