Looking for an antidote to the stressors of busy family life? The ancient practice of meditation is a perfect solution. Itʼs accessible to anyone, no special equipment is needed, and best of all-itʼs free! If you are a busy mom who canʼt imagine adding one more item to your lengthy "to do" list, consider weaving mindful moments into daily activities. By keeping your awareness in the present, instead of caught up in thoughts about the past or the future, you can relieve stress. You donʼt need to sit in a quiet place with your eyes closed to meditate. You can practice anytime simply by noticing what you experience through your five senses. Mindfulness can even be a family activity as you practice together. Here are five simple meditations you and your child can integrate into your daily lives:

  • Mealtime : Notice the smell of the food and the taste of it, chewing slowly. Finish one bite before eating the next.

  • Walking to school together : Notice the soles of your feet as they touch the ground, or notice the sounds of nature or the sounds of traffic.

  • Waiting in line : Notice the breath moving in and out of your body as your chest rises and falls.

  • Bathtime: Notice the smell of the soap, or notice the sounds of splashing water.

  • Bedtime : Notice the texture of the sheets and blankets, and notice their temperature. You can also notice subtle sounds-do the sheets rustle when climbing into bed?

  • Playing in the snow : Notice the temperature of the air and the snow. Listen to the sounds of the snow beneath your feet.

  • Family gatherings : See if you can listen completely to those you interact with without your mind wandering to past and future events.

  • Shopping : Notice what you hear in the store, including the sounds of shoppers, salespeople, and even the elevators as their doors open and close.

  • Cooking : See if you can take your time cooking, being fully present with your five senses, noticing sounds, smells, tastes, textures, colors and shapes.

  • Family rituals : See if you can be fully present to any rituals you and your family may have, taking your time with them and fully experiencing their meaning.

Continually shifting awareness into the "here and now" not only helps reduce stress, it is also a great bonding activity for you and your family to practice together. It doesn't require a lot of time or planning. All it takes is remembering to stop and pay attention. Joy Rains is author of Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind, a primer ideal for busy parents. Available on Amazon.com and from select retailers. joyrains.com