What is Mindfulness and how it can help families with disabled children?
Mindfulness is a moment-to-moment awareness of thoughts and feelings. It has become a popular way for people to let go of their stress and to ‘find’ themselves in the midst of their daily (and often busy) lives.
If you are the parent of a disabled child, you might benefit from practicing mindfulness in:
- Your relationship with your partner
- Your role as a parent
Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness helps foster positive feelings like contentment, self-awareness, empathy and self- control. It soothes the parts of the brain that produces stress hormones and builds those areas that lift mood.
The practice of mindfulness can be a guided process – there are several exercises that can be used by everyone – you don’t need to attend a class. But you can also practice mindfulness simply by concentrating on your own breathing, or what you are doing at each moment – for example walking down the street and paying full attention to everything around you, or peeling the potatoes!
There are many mobile apps that have guided process for mindfulness. They can be a helpful option because they can introduce you to the concepts of mindfulness and they can sit in your pocket for the opportune moment. Even if you only have time for 5-10 minutes it can still be very beneficial. It’s worth doing a bit of research to find an app that you enjoy using as the practice of mindfulness becomes more powerful when it becomes a daily habit.
Your relationship with your partner:
We all face stressful, difficult and challenging situations, and our relationships would probably be a lot stronger without them. But it’s far too idealistic to expect stressful moments will completely go away; they are a fact of life in any relationship. Families with disabled children have to cope with significant emotional, social, physical and financial pressures, and everyone has different coping styles. Mindfulness can help us with our reaction to stressful events. By mentally preparing the mind and the body we can be less controlled by situations when they occur, and we can handle conflict better.
By being truly ‘present’ with our partners, we can become better listeners and focus on how to improve the problems we face. This creates some space for us to be the best versions of ourselves for our partners.
Your role as a parent:
In a study that was carried out on mothers with disabled children, mindfulness led to ‘significant improvements’ in;
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep quality
- Life satisfaction
So why not try out some mindfulness today?
Search mindfulness apps to find information about free paid apps, plus reviews for them.
This mindfulness information was taken from the Connected Magazine autumn/winter 2016.