If you took your kids to see the recent movie "Inside Out", you were introduced to the core emotions, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. In the movie, the character Joy, trying hard to protect Riley from experiencing distressing emotions, becomes bossy, and judgemental while engaging in heroic attempts to prevent Riley from just experiencing her emotions. Joy is a lot like the protective parent, trying so hard to do everything right so that their child does not suffer. A recent article entitled, Four Lessons from "Inside Out" to Discuss With Kids points out that happiness is not just about joy. In fact, by the end of the movie,Joy learns that by giving up some control and allowing the other emotions to do their part in helping Riley navigate loss and change, Riley grows to experience a happiness more fully. That kind of happiness is founded on mindful acceptance and is one of many benefits associated with the practice of meditation. Meditation helps kids and parents learn skills related to concentration (calming difficult emotions), mindfulness (accepting difficult emotions) and compassion (learning to comfort yourself in the midst of distress). In Amy Poehler's video "Just Breathe", young children demonstrate how to soothe angry feelings using meditation, amysmartgirls.com/short-film-just-breathe-helps-kids-deal-with-emotions. In the video, a glitter bottle is the metaphor for calming mixed up, angry feelings. In my therapy practice, kids from age three to fifteen have fun making this calming tool. They love to personalize the bottles with colored glitter, confetti and small floating toys. At the same time, they learn to focus and observe the mixed up emotions, calm themselves and experience compassion for what other people feel. For examples of how to make your own, look up "glitter calming jar" on Pinterest.
Cultivating Mindfulness from "Inside Out"
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