Mindfulness is NOT just for Hippies


Mindfulness is NOT just for Hippies

by Danielle Radden

I’ve been a nerd since before nerds were cool. I used to sit on the see-saw reading science books at recess. I spent ALL my free time in graduate school playing World of Warcraft (and if you don’t know what that is, that’s probably for the best). I wear glasses that are thicker than my iPhone and I try to explain complex physics of rotational forces to my 7 year old (who just wanted to play with a yo-yo). 

I don’t use essential oils (gasp, I know!) because I usually forget. The most contact with a tree I’ve had this week is from the pages of the book I’m reading. My clothes don’t flow and I don’t own a single thing with flower print (I checked in order to validate this statement). Plus yoga makes my shoulders pop out of socket (yes, that’s a thing).

Why would a nerdy science mom without a hippy bone in her body want to write for a mindfulness blog?

Because mindfulness is the single best thing I’ve learned as a mother. It is NOT just for hippies, mindfulness is for everyone.

Mindfulness isn’t always about communing with nature, or finding your heart center while balancing in downward dog. Mindfulness is being in the moment, letting go of mental distractions, and appreciating the details of life.

Ideally I’d let you peer into my brain to see all the ways in which mindfulness has made me a better parent, but since Mr. Musk is still working on linking minds, a quick story will have to suffice.

My daughter had a lot of problems when she was in kindergarten. You probably wouldn’t think they were problems but she obviously thought they were major problems. She didn’t know who to play with at recess because she just had too many friends. She felt like she was disappointing her friends when she didn’t give them all her utmost attention. For a social young 6 year old, this is a big deal. 

I know from some social science that the patterns we develop when these buggers are little will carry on into their later years. So I put forth my best mindful listening ears and I gave my sweet little socialite all the attention I could for as long as she needed. I wanted to show her that I would listen to her problems (even when she wanted to talk about them for 20 minutes every night for a month). 

With the help of a solid mindfulness practice, I was able to demonstrate to my angel that her problems and concerns are important to me, and I will continue to show this to her for as long as she needs me.

For the record, I also listen to my son describe in full detail the latest plans he has for developing his Minecraft world. Everything from how he built a fridge which magically creates apples, to how he made a colorful strobe light beacon (your guess is as good as mine as to what that even means).

He might not have as many daily concerns as his big sister, but I still know that it’s important for me to put aside my own thoughts to make sure he is seen and heard by the person he cares about most in the world - me, Mommy.

I know a bit about neuroscience, and I don’t care what type of person you are--a hippy, a nerd, a geek, an artist, a philosopher, a businesswoman, or anything else--mindfulness, and the self-awareness it brings, is something you need in your life. It is. It just is.

How does Mindfulness help you connect with your children?