Why Nine Meditation Categories?

Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Breath

(4 minutes)

Mindful breathing tells our nervous system that we are safe.  It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the body and mind.  We live in a constantly heightened state of stimulation, so our brains have very little downtime to rest and reset. Taking a moment to unwind the sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response) with deep breathing exercises can train the brain to better cope with the challenges of everyday life. This is the most diverse meditation that can be done, anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to close your eyes for it to be effective, so you can be walking, or performing another task while practicing deep breathing. Can be done sitting, laying down, standing, or walking. “When I get upset (or nervous, angry, worried, etc.) sometimes I notice I’m only taking small breaths. It might help to take some deep breaths with our Zenimal to help our bodies learn how to get through these moments faster and easier so we can get back to our day.”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Stillness

(6 minutes)

Feeling more grounded and secure can give us strength to feel present in each given moment of the day. This grants us emotional regulation, peace, focus, and joy. Stillness is a great way to start the day. It can be done before you get out of bed, after breakfast, or anytime you need to feel grounded and focused. It can be done at home, school, in the car, or outside. Can be done sitting, lying down, or standing. “There are times when I don’t feel as strong as I would like to feel. Let’s see if our Zenimal can help us find some strength together.”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Creativity

(5 minutes)

Imagine creating a work of art to inspire focus and creative thinking. We find this is fun way to introduce mindfulness. Instead of pushing away thoughts, we welcome them to live outside the box where anything is possible. Great to practice before homework/test or a task that might induce frustration. Could be used at home, school, before sports, or even before bed to calm a very active mind. Can be done sitting, lying down, walking, or standing. “There are times when I struggle to create or communicate things how I see them in my head. Sometimes it makes me feel stuck and frustrated. It might be interesting to use our Zenimal to create exactly what we want using our imagination. It might help us get unstuck.”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Relaxation

(7 minutes)

Designed to relax the body from head-to-toe using progressive muscle relaxation (tensing a muscle then relaxing it). This meditation can be done anytime, and it’s usually best to lay down or sit for this practice. It can be useful before bed, a difficult task, or simply to reset the body and release tension during day. It’s also a great choice for bodies that have a tough time being completely still because small movements are the key to this technique. Can be done sitting, standing, or lying down. “Sometimes when I feel worried or angry or sad, that feeling goes into my body and makes it feel uncomfortable. This is a way to try to release that uncomfortable feeling. Let’s try it together.”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Sleep

(15 minutes)

Intended to help promote relaxation, a feeling of safety, and a sense of peace before bedtime. Nighttime is the optimal time to introduce a mindfulness practice. The body is used to slowing down and being still during this time. Some kids take a lot of winding at bedtime. We want them to gain the tools needed to self-sooth and be able to wind down faster as they continue to practice mindfulness on a regular basis. If there is a lot of resistance, try playing it while getting ready for bed or simply sit or lay down in their room and begin to play it for yourself. Most of the time their curiosity will get the better of them and they’ll start to check out what you’re doing. Repetition and lowering expectations are the keys to learning mindfulness. Can be done sitting or lying down. “It can difficult to fall asleep because we do so much during the day and it can be really tough to calm down. Let’s see if our Zenimal can help us out.” Or “I see that you are having a tough time settling your body (or mind) and I know it’s difficult to stop having fun, but our bodies need rest to have energy and strength. I’m going to lay down and relax after this big day with our Zenimal if you’d like to join me?”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Empathy

(6 minutes)

A practice to learn the art of empathy, which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. This can help induce a sense of joy and gratitude. Useful when used during times of frustration, torment, or anger, especially when it involves another person. Another great use for Empathy is when one is feeling that life is unjust or unfair. This skill can help open perspectives. Can be used at home, at school, before bed, or in the car. Empathy is best done sitting, lying down, walking, or standing. “I remember a time when I felt big emotions of anger and frustration towards ________ but when I really stopped to think about what they are going through or feeling, my big emotion felt a bit smaller. Let’s try it and see if it works for you.”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Gratitude

(5 minutes)

Finding the big and small things that help us feel grateful. The daily practice of gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem, life satisfaction, connection with others, physical health, sleep, and empathy. We love the gratitude meditation first thing in the morning and before meals. Another opportune time to play this track is when a child is struggling with perception of the present moment or situation helping them develop a keen sense of self-awareness. Can be done sitting, lying down, walking, or standing. “Wow, this meal looks great, I’m feeling so grateful we have food on our table let’s take the first five minutes of this meal to listen to a gratitude meditation.” (You can eat while you listen—you don’t have to close your eyes ;) Or “I understand that you want __________, but it’s important to feel grateful for what we have. Sometimes it’s tough to see these when we really want something or we want things to be different, let’s see if the Zenimal can help us through this.”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Feelings

(6 minutes)

They’re called “feelings” for a reason! Especially when they’re big, emotions can be physically felt in the body making them very real. Bringing awareness to each of these feelings—regardless of whether they’re good or bad—can help regulate their impact and duration. Kids don’t have all of the emotional capabilities developed in their brains yet, so while their reactions can seem outrageous, it’s their only way to cope in any given moment. Mindfulness can help a child see these feelings and regulate them faster through awareness. We love the equation: SUFFERING= PAIN X RESISTANCE Anything multiplied by zero is zero. If we diminish the resistance of an emotion or experience to zero then the suffering is eliminated too. The pain remains, but in a much more manageable, unamplified state.

The feelings track can best be served while the emotion is still fresh, but can be a tough sell while still deep in the moment.  Don’t force this.  You can simply continue to offer it as a tool to use when they feel ready after the reaction subsides.

Seeing your child have big feelings can be difficult, but it’s also a wonderful time to interact, allowing them to feel safe, seen, and soothed which can ultimately lead to secure attachment.  You can read more about this here.

 

It’s important to connect in these moments and mirror their expression in order to empathize with them.  Here is a great resource to learn more about this CALM method.  Can be done sitting, lying down, walking, or standing.

“Wow, I see that you’re having a really big feeling about ___________, I’m here for you. I’m going to set your Zenimal over here whenever you feel ready, I’d like to sit with you and practice the feelings meditation or any other ones you feel ready for.” Or “Sometimes when I feel really angry or sad, instead of saying ‘I’m sad’ I try to say ‘there is sadness there’ and it makes it seem a bit smaller. It helps me understand that I’m not sad all of the time it’s just in this moment. But it’s important to see these feelings and say ‘hi, I see you there!’ There is a special button of your Zenimal just for feelings, want to check it out with me?”
Meditation Category Purpose Time of Day Example Language to Use

Warmth

(6 minutes)

The warmth meditation is designed to visualize sending a healing light to wherever it’s needed most.

You can read about how meditation can help mitigate the intensity of physical pain here.

We recommend this meditation for moments when an uncomfortable sensation or pain is felt anywhere in the body or mind. Identifying the location and sending positive thoughts and feelings to that area can sometimes ease the discomfort. This is useful when a child is ill, has a minor injury, or to help calm “butterflies” in the belly from being anxious or nervous. Can be done sitting, lying down, walking, or standing. “Being sick (or being hurt) is no fun and it sometimes feels like it will never go away. Sometimes taking some special breaths and sending good thoughts to our sickness (or pains) can help. The Zenimal has a button for this if you’d like to check it out?”