Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Mindfulness means paying attention with curiosity & kindness, and without judgment. It is a tool to use to respond to life with more clarity & intention. Mindfulness helps us to live in the moment, reduce anxiety, and engage positively with the world around us. Explore below to find easy ways to incorporate mindfulness in you & your young person’s life and stay on a path of positive awareness.

10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness Daily

#1 Create A Morning Ritual

Written by Team BLOOM

  |  Reviewed by Em Morrison

Mornings can have the power to set the tone for the rest of your day.
  • When you first wake up, before looking at your phone or getting caught up by any other distractions, take a moment of quiet reflection for yourself.
  • Your morning ritual could be as simple as sitting up in your bed, eyes closed, and spending a moment or two focused on your breathing. While breathing, you can practice a simple moment of gratitude and think of something you are grateful for or set an intention (aim or focus) for your day.
  • As you develop this morning ritual, you can deepen your practice by sitting for longer periods and allowing more silence before you begin your day. You can think of this practice as a way to set yourself up for success for the day by regulating your nervous system in preparation for the day ahead.
Tips for practicing a morning ritual with your young person:
  • If you wake up your young person in the morning for school, take a few moments with them before getting out of bed to breathe deeply and calmly with their eyes closed. If you think they will prefer to try this practice independently, share this suggestion for them to develop this habit on their own.
  • At breakfast have everyone at the table name one thing they are grateful for.
  • Ask your young person to set a small, positive goal for themselves for the day, and support them in achieving it.

#2 Mindful Breathing

Remember You Are Always Breathing!

One of the easiest and most direct ways to bring your attention to the present moment is by bringing your attention to your breath. Your breath is always happening in the present moment whether you are thinking about it or not, and by bringing your attention to it, you are directly connecting yourself to the present moment as it is unfolding.

  • You can try this right now. As you take a few breaths, notice how you are breathing, if it is shallow or deep, and where in your body you feel it, whether it be in your chest, belly, or nose.
  • For a quick practice: Take three deep belly breaths in and out through your nose, focusing your attention on your inhale and exhale, noting where you feel the breath in your body. Repeat this three times and practice it as often as you need throughout the day. This practice can be especially useful in stressful circumstances.
Mindful breathing tips for practicing with them:
  • Practice listening and focusing on your breath with your young person. Try to do this with each other once a day, as well as each time you start to notice your emotions getting the best of you, especially when interacting with one another.
  • As you practice breathing in and out together, start to let each other know how your bodies are feeling: are there pains anywhere, does your breathing feel shallow or deep, is your heart beating fast or slow?
  • Doing these exercises together can help you move through the awkwardness you both may feel at first and build a deeper connection with one another. It may also help you both communicate better when you are feeling stressed or don’t see eye-to-eye on things.

#3 Mindful Listening

Practice Mindful/Active Listening
  • Many times, when someone is speaking to us, we are often caught up in our own mind thinking of what we are going to say next, without giving their words our full attention and consideration. Mindful listening is a way of listening without judgment, criticism, or interruption. Do this while at the same time as being aware of internal thoughts and reactions you may be experiencing that are actually getting in the way of people communicating with you effectively.
  • Next time you are in a conversation, try actively listening to the other person with your full attention and see what you notice. Is the conversation more enjoyable? Easier? Or something else? This type of mindful listening can lead to developing deeper and more authentic connections with others.
Tips to help your young person with mindful/active listening:
  • Practice sitting with your young person and just listening to the sounds going on around you both. You may hear the sound of a fan, rain or wind outside, or even the bustle of people moving around you. The key is starting to notice the sounds around you and developing awareness of them. You can do this inside or outside, mix it up! Decide together how much time you want to allow for your practice.
  • Talk about what you each heard, did you both hear the same things or did one of you focus more on certain sounds than the other?
  • As you start to feel more comfortable in your active listening practice, use these same guidelines only apply them to conversations you have with your young person. This can improve not only your listening skills but how well you comprehend and process what you are hearing. It is only when we slow down and turn our focus and attention to what the other person is saying, that we can truly hear them.

#4 Check in with Your Body

Tune into your Body

One of the most amazing aspects of your body is that it functions without you having to do anything — your heart beats, your lungs breathe, and your stomach processes and digests your food without you having to tell them to. Yet, your body also constantly sends you messages and feedback through different sensations that you might not always notice. It is an important tool for your health to make some time each day to tune into your body’s sensations and notice if you think it is trying to communicate something to you. Take a moment each day and check in with your body. What do you notice? Are there any pains or aches? Do you feel a sense of heaviness or lightness? Do you feel tight anywhere? By bringing your attention to your body, you are able to bring your attention to the present and also connect to the feedback and information your body is sending you so you can learn from your body.

The Practice

Set an alarm on your phone or watch for a specific time each day to check in with your body and do this practice. Take a deep breath and become fully aware of everything you feel through your senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell), including sensations in your body, the air on your skin, temperature of the room, sounds around you, etc. Notice, allow, and breathe through any discomfort that might come up from thoughts, feelings, or sensations you have.

Tips for strong emotions or sensations: 

When you do this practice, it is normal for strong emotions or physical sensations to be there. If the emotions or sensations feel overwhelming, just stop the practice and give yourself some credit for trying it out! Many people have noticed that the more they practice, the more they are able to handle big emotions or sensations in their bodies.

If the emotions or sensations are not too overwhelming and you want to keep practicing, try this: 

As you check in with your body and emotions, see if you can “feel” where the emotions live in your body. You might find that feelings of worry or anxiety cause discomfort in your chest and so on. Once you identify where that emotion lives in your body, you can bring your attention to it, and see if you can relax your body in that area. This can help release and soften the emotion or sensation you are feeling and maybe even its impact on you.

Tips for helping them learn how to tune into their bodies
  • Once a week (build up to daily) offer this practice to your young person, and/or make time to sit with them to do it together. Either laying flat on the floor, sitting cross-legged, or doing whatever is comfortable, actively /mindfully tune into the body.
  • If you are practicing together, tell each other what you are feeling, physically and emotionally. Help each other accept how you are feeling and feel safe sharing. If they are practicing alone, have them note to themselves, their sensations.
  • Try to help each other pinpoint where you hold certain emotions in your body and talk about it, how it makes you feel, what seems to soothe it, and what triggers those emotions and/or physical feelings.
  • Connecting with your young person on this level can help you both learn more deeply about each other and build on your relationship of safety and trust.

#5 Find Things to be Grateful For

Adopting an “attitude of gratitude” is a little practice that can have a big impact on your life! People who regularly practice gratitude make time in their day to notice and reflect on the people, places, and things they are thankful for. In doing so, studies suggest they experience more positive emotions, sleep better, have more compassion and kindness towards others, feel more alive, and even have stronger immune systems. This practice allows you to really savor and appreciate the goodness in your life.

  • It is best done daily for five minutes in the morning and five minutes before going to bed by reflecting in your favorite journal and writing down three things you are grateful for.
  • You can start by noting simple things that make your life better each day, for example, a friend or family member who helps you, a place like your home or school, or things like your favorite blanket, sweater, or pet.
  • This practice is also useful for moments when your life feels stormy or out of control, too. It is a powerful way to uplift your mind by focusing your attention in the present moment to what is positive in your life.
  • It is a way to gently bring the positive things to the forefront of your mind so that you are able to more easily come back into the present moment, rather than worrying about the future or thinking about difficulties in the past.

By focusing on the positive we become more available to create a more positive future and attract more of the things we do want in our life. Just remember, where your focus goes, energy flows!

Tips for practicing gratitude with your young person:
  • Start by asking your young person to name one thing they are thankful for in the morning before school, and once more in the evening right before bed. A great starting point is to name one thing that went really well for you that day.
  • Once they start to get quicker with their responses, ask them to increase that to three things they are thankful for or that went well that day, each morning and evening.
  • When they start really being able to rattle those off, ask them to start writing down their top three things they are grateful for or that went well, everyday in a journal. Keep this journaling going even if you forget the morning and evening gratefulness practices. If they have a BLOOM account, encourage them to journal online.
  • As they start to really develop their gratitude practice, you can begin to use this as a way to bring their attention back to what is positive in their life when they are feeling upset or when they are experiencing other strong negative emotions that they are having a hard time moving through. This can make a huge positive impact in their life, especially through all the ups and downs in the life of an adolescent.

#6 Mindful Movement // Walking

There are so many times throughout the day where the mind is distracted or on autopilot and you might wonder how you got from point A to point B without having to put much thought into it. By bringing mindful attention to your walking or movement, you can break free from this cycle, clearing your mind of any clutter, and restoring your sense of focus and attention to what is directly in front of you. The goal is simple and fun. Become consciously aware while moving.

As you walk or move, pay attention to the sensations of the body, and play with your movement. How do your feet feel when they each hit the ground? How do the other muscles of your body feel as you balance? Notice if and how your arms swing as you walk. Is it easier or more difficult to move if you slow down? As you become aware of your body and surroundings, see if you can open up your senses with a sense of curiosity and joy to experience the sights, sounds, and smells that surround you.

Mindful movement tips for practicing with them:
  • Mindful movement can be a really fun way to practice two positive habits in one practice. Take a walk outside (or any type of movement) with your young person and practice looking, feeling, and touching the things you experience around you as you walk. You get the two-fold benefit of exercise for your body and your mind!
  • You could start this by just walking with your young person once a week for five minutes and then slowly increase that number.
  • You could also switch it up and try some yoga or stretching. Really, you could do almost anything that involves movement and you don’t have to limit it to once a day; you can do it while walking into a store together or heading over to a sports practice. Just remember to focus your attention on the movement and your environment in the present moment and talk about it with each other. For example, do you both lead with the same foot and/or do one of you walk faster than the other?

#7 Tap into Your Flow State

It’s more likely than not that you have experienced a flow state at some point in your life. It is a state of mind and body where you are completely absorbed and intensely focused on your task at hand, unaffected by any distractions. In this state, time will feel like it has slowed down, your senses will be heightened, and your actions and awareness are in sync to respond with effortless momentum.

  • Tapping into a flow state is possible for everyone and can be achieved in a physical activity, creative pursuit, or even more mundane everyday tasks. Many people know this state as being “in the zone,” and it is an incredibly powerful state to be able to tap into.
  • Tapping into a flow state becomes easier the more you practice mindfulness meditation, because you are actively training your attention, focus, and concentration.
  • A flow state is essentially meditation in motion and is most easily accessible by doing something you love.
  • To create flow remember: you must be engaging in something you like or with an attitude of joy, the activity cannot be too easy or difficult, your mindset must be focused on the journey not the destination, process, or the end result.
Helping your young person tap into their flow state:
  • A good start for this is to make sure you find something your young person loves to do, like coloring or drawing, running, playing soccer, or even playing an instrument.
  • Once you decide on something, pick a time during the day that you think your young person is naturally at their best. Are they a morning person or a night owl? Do they work best after a meal or maybe just after a snack. If you aren’t sure, decide on a time when your young person is not too hungry, not too tired, and not too distracted by outside influences.
  • When you begin, try the activity together and then slowly give them more independence if you notice they have started to get in their zone. Once they do, enjoy the beauty, and be sure to recognize them for it, once they finish.
  • If they are having trouble finding their flow state, there is no pressure! Stay positive and keep the activity time fun, they will get there!

#8 Observe Your Surroundings with Mindful Seeing

Mindful seeing is the practice of taking in your surroundings by observing and noticing the finer details of life all around you in the present moment, without needing to label or judge them in any way. This is best practiced outdoors where you can experience the natural world around you.

You might notice:

  • The clouds moving across the sky,
  • People or animals walking by,
  • The wind against your face,
  • Leaves falling from the trees, or
  • The beautiful flowers.

There are so many ways to practice mindful seeing. Look for the small details, the things you find beautiful, and the quiet things in life and the world around you. When you take in these details, notice how they make you feel inside. Another level of mindfulness, unlocked. This practice reveals the beauty and gift that can be found in the present moment — all around you, all the time. Practicing this way, through how you observe the world, shows you the choice you always have over where and how your attention is directed. This choice of where you place your attention is always yours.

Tips to help them practice mindful seeing:
  • This can be a super fun way to spend some time with your young person.
  • To start, it is best to get outside and be in nature.
  • Talk to your young person about what you see around you, discuss if you both see the same things or notice different things.
  • Then you can start to talk with each other about the tiniest of details you see, and what each of you finds beautiful about what you see.
  • Notice and talk about what details seem to keep your attention more than others.
  • The more you practice this with your young person, the more this will become a way of being for them in their daily life, and what a beautiful gift indeed

#9 Try Mindful Eating

A really great and enjoyable way to bring your attention to the present moment is when you eat. Sometimes we aren’t paying attention to the food we eat because we’re distracted and busy doing other things at the same time. This can often lead to mindless eating where you may eat way more than you meant to or so fast that you didn’t realize you were already full. When you take time to eat mindfully, you can bring yourself into the experience, truly appreciate your food, and engage all five of your senses.

  • Start with a small portion, look at your food, noticing the colors, aromas, and textures. Think about where your food came from, and all of the people, plants, and animals that helped make this food for you. Take a moment to practice gratitude in your mind and heart, saying “thank you” for all the work that it took to bring you this food.
  • Use your nose to smell the aromas your food has to offer.
  • As you chew slowly and thoroughly, feel the textures in your mouth, like soft, hard, chewy, warm, or cold.
  • Listen to the sounds the foods make as you chew the food and focus on the diverse flavors you taste.

The more you practice mindful eating, the more enjoyment and nourishment you will experience when eating.

Tips to help them practice mindful eating:
  • Make a goal to have one meal with your young person at least once a day, if this is not doable, make a time that works for your family.
  • During your meal-time, plate out your portions and talk about the food on your plate, how many different colored foods are there, do each have an aroma, or how many different textures are on each plate.
  • Together take small bites and chew your bites slowly and thoroughly, noticing how they taste and feel in your mouth. Comment back and forth on this experience.
  • Start to bring this practice into every time you eat and talk about what you each are noticing and if any food habits have changed over time since you started.
  • There is a great opportunity here for your young person to start understanding how different foods make them feel as they digest and what foods fill them up or give them more energy during the day.

#9 Find A Friend!

Developing a mindfulness practice doesn’t always have to be something you do alone. Lots of times mindfulness is practiced in a community or group setting. Community support is key to developing and maintaining a practice. If you tend to be more social, or like the accountability, connection, and support that community or group members bring to the experience, find a friend or group to practice with! There are some awesome apps and organizations that offer teen-centered mindfulness classes, retreats, and practices on their website and in-person.

Check them out here:
How to encourage mindfulness practice in a group setting with them:
  • If your young person enjoys their solitude then that is perfectly okay and great! We each are different and we can practice differently too. Take moments in the day to practice with them, and support them in their solo practice as well.
  • If your young person may enjoy a group setting for some of their mindfulness practices, go together to a community group or try a retreat together to get them started.
  • You can always go to group practices separately and make time to practice together once a week.
  • Sometimes all you need is a friend. If your young person needs a little more motivation than just practicing with you or they shy away from it altogether, they might benefit from a little positive peer pressure. Try to encourage one of their friends to commit to some mindfulness practice with them. Start small, trying for once a week and then encourage them to build from there.
Why Practice?

Why Practice Mindfulness?

Written by Team BLOOM

  |  Reviewed by Em Morrison

We have all spent much of our lives developing our knowledge and intelligence in school and at work and strengthening our body with physical activity. Yet, more likely than not, you probably haven’t spent much time being taught how to train your mind, which is one of the most valuable skills you can have. When we take the time to practice mindfulness, we are actively training our mind and changing our brain in a positive way. We are making it stronger and more resilient, which can lead to all sorts of positive mental, emotional, physical, and social effects. These positive effects of practicing mindfulness can include increasing our ability to focus, helping us better recognize, understand, and regulate emotions, and being a more empathetic or caring friend and family member.

Practicing mindfulness points out the beauty and gift that can be found in the present moment — all around us, all the time.

  • It has the power to transform you into a person who is more AWARE and PRESENT. And a person who is more aware and present can make better decisions, can be more empathetic, and can be more connected to life unfolding right in front of them.
  • Learning to bring your awareness to the present moment can enrich your life and is one of the greatest skills you can cultivate. It can help you discover who you are and what makes you unique with greater understanding, and provide you with more clarity, insight, and compassion in how you relate to others and the world around you.
  • It also deepens your reservoir for resilience, allowing you to respond to difficult situations or emotions with more balance and equanimity.

When you practice mindful seeing, for instance, and take in your surroundings, such as the clouds moving across the sky, the wind in your face, or leaves falling from the trees, you begin to observe and notice all the wonderful finer details of life that you may not have seen before. This way of being is always available to you. It is a choice you can make about where to place your attention any moment you want. This is your true power.

When you practice mindfulness you experience the choice you always have over where and how your attention is directed.

The positive effects of mindfulness aren’t always instant. When you practice over and over, the benefits grow and grow, just like you improve at any skill the more you practice. More likely than not, practice may seem challenging, especially at the beginning, but all of a sudden you may start to notice feeling calmer throughout the day, less reactive to stressors, and maybe you even experience more feelings of gratitude than before. Speaking of which, maybe you’d like to try a mindfulness practice right now?

To read a teen’s personal story of how a mindfulness practice can positively impact your life, check out Tali’s story, here.

Why teaching mindfulness to our young person is beneficial

Just as mindfulness can help us navigate our lives more intentionally and build on the things that we enjoy and that benefit us in life, mindfulness can do the same for our young person. Teaching and modeling mindfulness can help them build on their self-esteem, manage stress and anxiety, and approach challenges with calm. Our young person’s mind is growing and developing during adolescence and helping them to practice mindfulness during this time can positively shape their concentration, memory, and social abilities. These are the basis to more advanced tasks that they will need to learn like critical thinking, planning, and reasoning skills. Giving them a good, solid base to build on for all these developing skills can be deeply beneficial to them, not only now, but throughout their lives.

The Positive Health Effects

The Positive Health Effects

Written by Team BLOOM

  |  Reviewed by Em Morrison

The scientific study of mindfulness began over 40 years ago, and research continues to suggest some exciting positive health effects that result from consistent daily mindfulness practice. Through this emerging research, scientists and researchers are finding that mindfulness meditation, in as little as 8 weeks, may reduce anxiety and depression, boost your immune system, help you manage pain, allow you to unhook from unhealthy habits and addictions, soothe insomnia, reduce high blood pressure, and even change the structure and function of your brain in positive ways. To uncover some of these findings, you can explore the positive health effects mindfulness has been shown to have on the body and mind in the studies listed below:

Practicing Affirmations

How to Get Started Practicing Affirmations

Written by Team BLOOM

  |  Reviewed by Em Morrison

  1. Find a time to practice that is free from distractions and is in a place you feel comfortable.
  2. Remind yourself that your words and thoughts have tremendous power and can shape the life you want to have.
  3. As you begin your affirmations, bring your attention to your heart and repeat each affirmation intentionally three to five times each. Don’t just rattle off your affirmations from memory. Be sure to really connect to each word allowing them to create a deep, lasting impression on you.
  4. Connect with the emotions the affirmations make you feel. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come as if this affirmation is true for you right now. Really feel those positive emotions such as joy, inspiration, passion, happiness, relief, excitement, and gratitude deeply as you make your affirmations.
  5. End your affirmation practice with a moment of gratitude towards yourself for taking a step towards the life you want. End your practice with this powerful reminder from Mahatma Gandhi — a lawyer and activist who successfully led his country, India, to freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Gandhi is famous for his philosophy of nonviolent resistance that has inspired civil rights leaders around the world including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Your beliefs become my thoughts.
Your thoughts become my words.
Your words become my actions.
Your actions become my habits.
Your habits become my values.
Your values become my destiny.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Some ways to help your young person practice positive affirmations:

  • Print the I AM Affirmations practice out for your young person (at bottom of full article). You can read it to them in the morning or at bedtime or leave it for them to practice on their own if they are older.
  • If you want to make their list of affirmations more personalized, sit down with them and write a list of affirmations they believe in and feel strongly about for themselves.
  • Everyone is different, check in with your young person to see if they would feel more comfortable voicing their affirmations with you, on their own (maybe in front of a mirror), writing them down (on sticky notes they can place around their room), or using visualization. Support them in their choice.
  • You can always change them up, add to them, or focus on one or two. Help your young person by affirming their statements throughout the day.
I AM Affirmations

I AM Affirmations

Written by Team BLOOM

  |  Reviewed by Em Morrison

An affirmation is a positive statement that is true and that offers encouragement or emotional support.

Affirmations are a powerful way to shape and change our beliefs into our thoughts, and these thoughts into our actions. They are a structured way to practice positive new thoughts. When we hear and practice these affirmations we are consciously and subconsciously practicing new thought patterns. These thought patterns will become new habits of thinking and behaving, leading to a better sense of self and unity. Because affirmations are practices of new thoughts and your thoughts create your reality, the importance of daily practice becomes clear. Each affirmation we hear strengthens us and creates a sense of confidence, empowerment, and unity.

  1. I AM Strong and Resilient.
  2. I AM Smart, Creative, & Love Learning New Things.
  3. I AM Worthy and Valuable.
  4. I AM Brave, Confident, & Courageous.
  5. I AM Positive and Find Inspiration in the Beauty that Surrounds Me.
  6. I AM Unique and Talented.
  7. I AM Grateful and Giving.
  8. I AM Calm, Mindful, & Reflective.
  9. I AM Honest, Trustworthy, & Respectful.
  10. I AM Helpful, Capable, & Resourceful.
  11. I AM Patient, Flexible, & Adaptable.
  12. I AM Hardworking, Determined, & Focused.
  13. I AM Open Minded and Have An Open Heart.
  14. I AM Just As Important As Everyone Else and Everyone Else Is Just as Important As Me.
  15. I AM Compassionate and Forgiving.
  16. I AM Kind, Caring, & Thoughtful.
  17. I AM Loved and Blessed.
  18. I AM Wild, Adventurous,
  19. …and Free to Be Me.
  20. AND Being Me is Always Enough!

Take a moment to thank yourself for doing this work today.
Every day you show up can make a difference in your life. 

To borrow some wisdom adapted from the incredible leader, Mahatma Gandhi, affirm to yourself:

My beliefs become my thoughts.
My thoughts become my words.
My words become my actions.
My actions become my habits.
My habits become my values.
My values become my destiny.

Affirmations & your young person

Our young people can receive positive affirmations from us as well as others around them, like their teachers or coaches. They can also learn to use them in their self-talk. Positive affirmations can not only increase their self-esteem but they also can create a more positive outlook, increased ability to handle stress, and can work to remove those pesky negative thoughts that so easily creep into all our minds at times. They are also a great tool for young people who are struggling to manage their emotions. Share the above practice with them to plant seeds of self love and watch them bloom!

Resources

A list of BLOOM's trusted resources to find more information and support… VIEW ALL

Trusted Organizations
Inward Bound Mindfulness Education

Guides teens and young adults in self-awareness, compassion, & ethical decision making, and empowering them to apply these to their lives..

Chopra Global

By focusing on physical, mental, and spiritual health, we empower people to create self-care routines as unique as they are, unlocking their body’s natural healing abilities.

Blissful Kids

Blogs about children’s mindfulness, psychology, and well-being with mindfulness activities, books, and online training materials available.

Books, Apps, & Podcasts
Headspace Meditation App

Offers a wide range of meditations for beginners and experienced users.

Chopra App

A place to discover your unique mind-body type and unlock personalized meditation and well-being practices tailored just for you.

Insight Timer

Offers 100,000 free guided meditations for as long as you want without ever paying a cent.

Shop BLOOM

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