Mindfulness for All Ages

Mindfulness is something that we all did very naturally as small children, but somewhere along the way we lose this valuable skill.

However the benefits of mindfulness are great, for people of all ages, including:

Connection – Feeling a greater connection with ourselves, and our experiences in both body and mind; as well as those around us and the world that we live in.

Perspective – Enhancing our ability to view the ‘bigger picture’. By standing back and getting a new perspective, we are often able to see things more clearly in our lives. It can help us to achieve a more balanced view of how life is, and open our eyes to new and wonderful things and experiences.

Choice – Giving us the ability to choose where to place our focus of attention, and learn to open up and be receptive to the information this presents. Mindfulness also increases our repertoire of ways we can manage difficulties in our lives, giving us a greater range of choices about how to act.

Self-Knowledge – Practising mindfulness, we notice and become more familiar with all our experiences – even the difficult things in life – allowing us to develop a greater understanding of ourselves.

Changing mental gears – Neurologically, mindfulness appears to help us to engage a different ‘mental gear’ – one in which we can see clearly how things are now – and find appropriate and creative responses that are relevant and helpful.

mindfulness for all ages

So What is Mindfulness?

When we are being mindful, we are choosing to notice the details of our experiences, just as they are in this moment and without judging or trying to change them.  Being mindful, we are waking up to what our senses are telling us.

In the course of each day, our minds and bodies are constantly deluged with new information. We often find ourselves operating on autopilot, as it allows us to cope with all this incoming information, and manage the myriad of tasks in our daily lives.

We’ve all had the experience of driving somewhere, and having little memory of how we got there, afterwards – that’s autopilot. However, sometimes we forget to turn autopilot ‘off’ – and when we are operating on autopilot, we tend to react habitually without access to the fuller picture.

Mindfulness on the other hand, is about choosing where to focus our attention, and opening ourselves up to details we may have missed for years, by using our senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

By paying attention to all the detail around us at any given time, we can avail ourselves of a greater range of choices when it comes with dealing with our experience.

Tuning in to Sitting

Here is a simple exercise which you can try, to help you with experiencing mindfulness. For the next five minutes, simply sit in a chair, and pay attention to your experience of sitting:

  1. Notice the sensations as you sit here – your feet making contact with the floor, your bottom on the seat of the chair or on the cushion. Is there any feeling of pressure, or perhaps hardness or softness?
  2. Can you feel any difference in temperature between your body parts and the various surfaces they are touching?
  3. Does your body feel large or small compared to the chair you are sitting on?
  4. Can you hear anything? What are the different sounds that you notice around you?
  5. What else do you notice as you sit here for a few more moments?
  6. There is no need to change your experience in any way – just notice.

Mindfulness for All Ages

As mentioned earlier, mindfulness comes much more naturally when we are children, however tends to disappear as we grow older. For that reason it is a great idea to introduce mindfulness to children as something they can pursue, rather than take for granted.

In some ways it’s never too early – there are mindfulness programs to help parents prepare for birth, and once your baby has arrived the opportunities for practising mindfulness are plentiful – for example, through mindful baby bathing, or mindful walking when you have a crying baby late at night.

Try introducing your children to mindfulness practice through play, as playing is a child’s natural route to openness and curiosity. You might like to play with a snow globe, and explain that when we are agitated, our thoughts are all shaken up – just like in the snow globe. Because of the ‘snow’, we can’t see clearly.

However, if we wait calmly, and focus on our breath for a minute or so, the ‘snow’ settles and we can see clearly. The ‘snow’ hasn’t gone away, but it has settled enough for us to see what we are dealing with.

If you would like help understanding mindfulness, and how to discover its many benefits for yourself, please do not hesitate to make an appointment with me.

Shokria Siddiqui Psychologist Brisbane

Author: Shokria Siddiqui, BSc.Psych, PGDipPsych, PGDipMH, MPsych, MAPS.

Shokria Siddiqui is a Brisbane Psychologist working with all ages, however she has a particular interest in children and adolescents. By implementing evidence-based therapies that have been scientifically tested, building rapport with her clients, and creating a safe therapeutic space, Shokria helps her clients and their families to better meet life’s challenges.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Shokria Siddiqui, try Online Booking – Mt Gravatt or or Online Booking – Loganholme, or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129 or Vision Psychology (Mt Gravatt) on (07) 3088 5422.