Kids naturally understand how to maximize their experience as a human to use all their senses. It’s a joy to see our offspring delight at the sight of a rainbow, marvel at the sound wind chimes, experience the effervescence of fragrant flowers, express joy with tasting chocolate, and nuzzle into fluffy down-comforters. They live in the “now.” As grown-ups, it’s a little more challenging to live like this with a never-ending to-do list.
I’ve noticed my older children (ages 10 & 8) are getting sucked into the world of “adult-ing.” There is a practical and important purpose in growing-up. As they take on more responsibility they are learning to be productive members of society. On the flip side, it saddens me to see the unintended consequence of taking on more responsibility, that seems to dim of their innate ability to “be present.” Sometimes the overwhelming transition of growing-up leads to melt-downs and anxiety and detracts from the joy of experiencing our senses as humans.
Yikes! What can we do? I want to help my kids become responsible adults while maintaining that natural ability to just “be.”
Luckily, with a little help from people more skilled then myself, I will share the secret with you (and probably save you several hundreds of dollars I’ve already spent in therapy). Get out of your head and into your body.
When children have moments of rupture, it’s tempting to try to explain and rationalize the situation. We may say “calm down, there’s no need to overreact because it’s just spilled milk.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to understand how to navigate our emotions through logic – but sometimes, it’s just as important to allow your innate body intelligence to guide us. Body sensations are not meant to be compartmentalized and ignored, but rather be used as road signs for navigation. Since our bodies are giving the signals, using our minds to understand them isn’t always the best course of action, sometimes we need to allow our bodies to take the lead.
How do we do this? Something as simple as bouncing a ball back and forth several times before we dive into the conversation activates the physical part of our bodies. I call this corporioception. “Corporis” is Latin for body. “-Ception”is derived for how we perceive our environment; therefore, corporioception is our body + perception = body’s internal intelligence for how we experience life through our physical self.
Really young children can redirect their temper tantrum by physically punching a pillow. Older children may get out of a bad mood from school by riding their bike around the neighborhood.
Once our bodies have processed the energy we are often more receptive and open to having a rational conversation. Like all things I advise, try these ideas on kids but it can be just as useful to us grown-ups too. Get out of your head and into your body to just “be” (at least sometimes).