The Mini Me Yoga programme has been designed by Kate Bartram-Brown to help create happy, confident children whilst supporting their physical and emotional well-being through mindfulness, yoga and meditation. This week’s blog is written by our wonderful Ambassador Nicole.
As a professional working in the field of children’s mental health for many years now, I have grown to learn so much about the mind and the power that our thoughts can play on overall health and well-being. Not only for adults, but also for the most vulnerable people in the world, our children. Although our thoughts are only one component of overall mental health, it is an importance piece of the puzzle.
Adults have many years of experience being in this world and sadly today, many of those experiences are faced with trauma and various stressors that affect our own mental health. These incidences have a profound impact on how adults see the world around them and also have a strong impact on our mindset, perspectives and overall thinking. As we continue to see a growing amount of negativity, especially every time we turn on the news, it directly impacts each one of us differently. More and more people, including children, are being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and other mental health related concerns at an earlier age than what we used to see. Now, I’m not saying it is because of what we are seeing on the news that is causing such concerns, but many of us are facing some form of adversity that causes some degree of stress or has an immediate impact on the individual, our children or the community in which we live. When we are impacted by things we cannot control, our thoughts and attitudes can change over time, especially if we are faced with one challenge after another.
Many of us ask the question ‘Why is this happening?’ There are several reasons why this could be happening, but I feel that one of the primary reasons this is happening is because we have forgotten about the power of positivity and our minds. We have forgotten that ‘mind over matter’ mentality and that it is really a very powerful tool to utilize when faced with life’s adversities and stressful situations. In my work, we have always reminded children that they can’t control thing things around them, but they can almost always control how they think, feel and how they handle themselves in many circumstances. You see, children have this innate part about them in which they are born with, it’s called resiliency. One component about being resilient is our thoughts and how we view things in the world around us. Most children are born to live in the moment, not worrying about the past and not worrying about the future, they are constantly living in the present.
As we grow into adults, this piece slowly goes missing for many of us. Some of us loose that resiliency factor and some don’t. Some of us loose that important component about living in the moment and begin dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – these are our negative thinking patterns or as I like to call them thinking errors. As our children are living and breathing what their parents and the adults around them are living and breathing, we slowly begin to see our children lose this natural resiliency of being in the present moment, which they were born with. In simple terms, the adult mindset affects a child’s mindset. If our children are continuously exposed to negative thinking and not seeing life’s challenges as opportunities for growth and development, to take risks, try your hardest and say ‘I can get through this’, then what do they have left?
It is up to the adults in a child’s life to try and make this shift, to prepare a child with a strong and positive mind for their future. Many of our children will be faced with life challenges and stressors (first day of school, a move, family dynamics, bullying, making friends, learning to share and during other life events that we as adults see as the ‘little things’ but guess what – to your child they may be HUGE things). It’s up to us as the adults, parents, caregivers and teachers to continue our children’s growth in a healthy way through incorporating positivity into day to day life – we have to be positive and breathe positivity so that our children can see us practicing it and guess what – your children will too!
So next time you catch yourself in a rut- ask yourself, is there a way I can make this into a positive experience? Can I show perseverance and strength for my family? To my children?
Below are some simple ideas I would like to share with you, so that you can practice bringing more positivity into your own life, as well as to your family and children.
- Enjoy family meals together and share one positive thing that you experienced in your day and ask your children to do the same
- Start a gratitude jar where you share different things you are thankful for in life (even the smallest of things are important)
- Highlight your child’s strengths by validating efforts, positivity and that you recognizing how hard they were trying to complete tasks such as zipping up their jacket, learning to tie their shoes, how nice they are playing with their siblings and friends, etc.
- Practice reframing your thinking from “I can’t” to “I can” or “I won’t” to “I will” or “It’s too hard” to “I will try my best”…. simple shifts in our thoughts can go a long way for you and your children.
- Start becoming aware of your own thinking errors, catch those negative thoughts crush them with a positive thought (don’t worry, it takes tonnes and tonnes of practice before this comes more natural for anybody to do, but you can do it!)
- Begin to reframe how you speak to your children with the words you are using such as “you never” to “I have noticed” or “why can’t you just” to “how about we try this way” or “Why didn’t you” to “I see you tried your best.
By Nicole Dixon B.S.W, R.S.W
MiniMe Yoga Ambassador for Western Canada
Nicole is a social worker who has worked in the field of mental health for the past 15 years. For the past 10 years, Nicole has provided mental health programming with a focus on mental health promotion and prevention. In 2016, Nicole became a Mini Me Yoga ambassador who offers community yoga classes. Nicole also facilitates Mini Me Yoga’s 2 hour workshop: An Introduction to Yoga and Positive Thinking for Kids. You can learn more about Mini Me Yoga and what Nicole offers in Calgary through her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/minimeyogacalgary/ or get in touch with Nicole at Minimeyogawithnicolecalgary@gmail.com.