Last week we talked about meditation at home vs. trying out a meditation class as a family.
For those of you who want to give meditation a try (and recognize it’s benefits for anxiety, anger management, and building compliance in your little ones), read on!
Floating leaves meditation:
Meditation practice is a huge part of what we work on in therapy. One of my favorite guided meditations that I utilize is called the floating leaves meditation. Rather than trying to switch your brain off or stop all thoughts, you want to just let them float by.
Start by imagining yourself in front of a creek or stream. With every thought that comes up, take that thought, place the thought on a leaf, place the leaf on the creek, and watch that thought gently float away. Any kind of thought at all - take that thought, place the thought on a leaf, place the leaf on the creek, and watch that thought gently float away. You repeat this as much or as little as needed.
ACT (acceptance and commitment) and mindful meditations for anxiety:
In acceptance and commitment therapy, we focus on getting unstuck from thoughts rather than stopping or fighting or ignoring them. In meditation as well, recognizing that it’s ok for thoughts to come up means it’s easier to let them gently go away as well.
Accept rather than fight your thoughts. That’s my biggest tip for meditation. Especially when you have anxiety and are prone to anxiety spirals such as “I’m having this thought, this thought is bad, I’m bad for thinking this, I’m bad at meditation, I’m never going to get better,” etc. Struggling with thoughts makes them feel huge. Accepting and moving on gently from thoughts makes them much, much more manageable.
Kelsey Torgerson, MSW, LCSW is a top-rated anxiety specialist in St. Louis, working with kids, teens and college students to help them manage their overwhelming thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. She works in Clayton with families throughout Creve Couer, Town and Country, Ladue, University City, and Webster Groves. You can reach her through her brand new contact page.