The word ‘meditation’ can be intimidating, especially if you have certain notions about how a perfect meditation should be. Or you may feel it doesn’t work for you – if you have practiced it before, had certain expectations of attaining calm, and didn’t experience what you expected.
I have been meditating for quite some time now, and I am not sure how to describe its merits without coming across as exaggerating. It is a very effective exercise to bring calm, especially as a parent to a young child.
A while ago, I had written an article on six meditation challenges for a parent, and you may find it helpful if you are facing any of those. In this post, I will try to make a case for meditating for parents of young children.
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1. Manage Stress
Meditation has been scientifically proven for calming the brain’s stress center, the amygdala [Harvard, 2018]. In simple terms, our mind may not perceive the same situation as stressful if we get into the practice of meditation. As a bonus, meditation also generates happy hormones. If the mess due to toys flips you, try meditation to humor that very mess next time!
2. Curb Self-Doubt
Doubting oneself for ‘being a good parent’ or being ‘good at work’ are very normal doubts that a parent might get. I believe they are mostly coming from spreading oneself too thin and trying to be perfect all the time. As a result, one is left with little time to nourish oneself. And before we know, negative thoughts centered around doubting oneself come in.
How does meditation help? Unlike praying, meditation is a simple act of not doing anything and letting our thoughts pass without judgment. When we don’t put effort to know/do anything – our mind takes care of itself and attends to negative thoughts. Mental rest is the best medicine for healing ourselves, and meditation and sleep are excellent mental-rest tools.
3. Be more Present with the Child
Meditation, when done over a few months, helps one be more present, not just during the practice itself but during the entire day. Now, for me, it translated to being more present while engaging with my child. Would you call it a win-win? Being present during the meditation makes ‘being present’ a habit, then helps reap the benefit of undivided attention to the child.
4. Avoid Reacting
As I mentioned before, meditation provides rest to our mind. An obvious by-product is gaining a new, relaxed perspective on situations that might look grave at the face. Chances are most of the things keep you calmer – be it the child having a cough, not meeting a milestone, etc. One still has to act, but the action gradually becomes less feverish – which again, I think, leads to a wiser decision.
5. No Space or Expensive Tools needed
On a particular day, if you find yourself too busy to step out for exercise or a walk, ending the day with a meditation session can a dose of self-care and wellness practice. It requires no special tools or space. You with yourself is all you need!