Everyone experiences anger— whether we feel it a lot, or hardly ever. Dealing with intense feelings like anger can be especially challenging for many kids (ok… and adults). Don’t you wish you knew how to help your kids calm down before they resort to behavior that could get them into trouble? One way to deal with big emotions is by using the “Soles of The Feet” meditation. That’s right. The bottoms of their tootsies.
Even for kids who haven’t exactly been excited about meditating in the past, this quick and easy approach can help children quickly calm down and resist the urge to act out. The purpose of this exercise isn’t to get rid of anger (which does serve a purpose!). The purpose is to teach your child to move their attention from angry thoughts and feelings to the bottoms of their feet.
Here’s How It Works:
1. If you are standing, stand in a natural rather than an aggressive posture, with the soles of your feet flat on the floor. If you are sitting, sit comfortably with the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
2. Breathe naturally, and do nothing.
3. Cast your mind back to an incident that made you very angry. Stay with the anger.
4. You are feeling angry, and angry thoughts are flowing through your mind. Let them flow naturally, without restriction. Stay with the anger. Your body may show signs of anger (e.g., rapid breathing).
5. Now, shift all your attention to the soles of your feet.
6. Slowly, move your toes, feel your shoes covering your feet, feel the texture of your socks, the curve of your arch, and the heels of your feet against the back of your shoes. If you do not have shoes on, feel the floor or carpet with the soles of your feet.
7. Keep breathing naturally and focus on the soles of your feet until you feel calm.
8. Practice this mindfulness exercise until you can use it wherever you are and whenever an incident occurs that may lead to you being verbally or physically aggressive.
9. Remember that once you are calm, you can walk away from the incident or situation with a smile on your face because you controlled your anger. Otherwise, if you need to, you can respond to the incident or situation with a calm and clear mind without verbal threats or physical aggression.
And if you’d like to hear someone else lead you through the exercise, checkout this video. There’s plenty of research to back this up as useful with elementary school students, aggression, autism, and other developmental disabilities.
Question: What else works to prevent angry outbursts with your kids?
At Intuition Wellness Center we specialize in counseling children, young adults and families and supporting other like-minded professionals in doing good work. Call 520-333-3320 for a free phone consultation.
Written by: Meg Beardmore, MA & Brandy Baker, PsyD
Image credit: Rar285 on wikimedia commons