Although I’m no longer in school, when the kids go back in August, I like to think that I’m about to start a brand new year too. I’m a big fan of summertime fun, but there is something to be said about new routines, more set schedules, and back to business attitudes that come with the start of a new school year. When I was younger, I remember my mom used to make my brother and I practice having an earlier bedtime about a week or so before school started. Rob and I always found this to be a bummer, because it was our last week of freeeedom, and we wanted to soak up all the playtime we could get. But alas, mom always knows best. If we did not prioritize a good bedtime beforehand, that first week back definitely felt like a drag.
I know what you may be thinking.. “Mindfulness? Isn’t that practiced in Buddhism?” or “is practicing mindfulness considered a Christian practice?” Before I begin I think its best we define mindfulness and “being mindful”.
Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to what we are doing, thinking and feeling at the moment you are doing, thinking and feeling it. As Christians we so long to stay connected and focused to God and God’s kingdom, but we can agree and recognize that our fears, anxieties, insecurities and the negativity in this world often times interfere with this focus and our ability to stay present.
Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out…
Now, I know you probably just read that and didn’t actually focus on your breath and breathing! Take a moment before continuing reading to take four deep breaths with your eyes closed, concentrating on the pattern, then proceed.
Anxiety has such a way of taking us out of the present moment and making us disconnected with ourselves. Our minds race, thinking of every possible thing we need to get done, everything we could have done, should have done, would have done, you name it! Before you know it we’ve completely lost the present moment and have no idea what happened. All we know is we feel a tightness in our chest, heart racing, nervousness, irritability, discomfort and racing thoughts. If this is you, you’re not alone!
“My child doesn’t know how to control his anger.”
“I feel terrible that I lost my patience with my little girl.”
“I regret how I reacted during a conflict with my husband.”
I often hear common concerns such as these when working with families. Whether from our crying baby or disrespectful teenager to high levels of work stress or relational conflict, we can all relate to moments when our emotions seem to control us.