Mapping Out Our Minds Share +

Posted by: coronadosafe 4 years, 7 months ago

April 2015

Although we missed Brad at this month's Coffee Talk, we had an amazing speaker, Dr. Monique Reynolds, step in to present how mindfulness can truly produce positive effects on the body and brain. More and more people are turning to mindfulness everyday, and the results have been phenomenal.

Mapping out our minds:

When you first move into a neighborhood, what do you do? Perhaps you take a walk down the block in order to get to know the area or perhaps you go and visit the neighbors in order to begin connecting to the community. Whichever way you approach it, the fact is that you try, in some way, to map out your new home. While this may seem obvious, when we take a look at how much time we spend inside our own minds, the difference is quite shocking. While we spend every day and night with our minds, we don't take much time to really figure out what's going on in there. Being able to understand how your mind works and taking the time to really focus our attention into ourselves will make a huge difference in your life and relationships. 

Practicing focused attention on our inner world will help us:  

  • Cope with day to day stress without feeling burned out and overwhelmed
  • Change stuck relationship patterns with partners and children
  • Develop compassion for our own struggles and the struggles of others
  • Pay attention – the easiest and hardest job of parenting 

Dr. Monique Reynolds presented a simple hand-model that you and your family can utilize to visually learn and discuss how to re-engage critical thinking and reasoning in high emotional situations. This model represents the brain, and how we "flip our lids" when we are thinking though only our emotions. Make sure you and your family check out this video below:

When we “flip our lids”, we can use mindfulness tools and reconnect to our thinking brain to help us be flexible, creative and find new solutions using our WHOLE brains. Next time you, your spouse, or your child, find yourselves in a high emotional situation, take a little bit of time to re-engage your frontal cortex before continuing the conversation (take a jog around the block, sit and meditate, etc.). 


Tools to Be Mindful

Take 5 :Close your eyes for a moment and try to identify 5 sounds around you. 

7-11 Breathing: Breathe in for 7 counts and out for 11 counts.  Do this 5 times.  This relaxes your nervous system and allows your front brain to reengage. 

SIFT – Sensations, Images, Feelings, Thoughts *adapted from Mindsight: Spend a few moments exploring your mind.  Notice what sensations you have, then notice what images may be in your mind, then notice what feelings you may have at the moment and then notice what thoughts are in your mind. 

Breathing Awareness: Spend 10 minutes with your mind focused on your breath.  You can imagine the breath flowing and in and out, you can focus on the sensation of the breath, or you can count your breathing in and out - whichever method is the most helpful for you to keep your awareness on your breath.  When your mind wanders, as it WILL, just notice what took your attention and return your awareness to your breath.  As you “take your mind on a walk” in this way, you are developing the skill of focused awareness and learning to let go of distractions, both large and small. 



Videos & Audio

Dan Siegel - Mindfulness and Neural Integration

Teens talking about mindfulness 

Daniel Goleman on Breathing Buddies 

Mindfulness Exercises for Kids 

Guided Audio Meditations from Center for Mindfulness at UCSD 


Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and their Parents), by Eline Snel

The Mindful Teen: Powerful Skills to Help you Handle Stress One Moment at a Time, by D.X. Vo

Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart, by Tara Bennett-Goleman

About our speaker

Dr. Monique Reynolds conducts individual coaching sessions tailored to the needs of each family.  Common issues addressed in coaching sessions include developing self-awareness, improving emotion-focused coping, behavior management, communication, life transitions, family routines, and co-parenting.  Dr. Reynolds is also available as a speaker on a range of topics related to parenting and developing individual self-awareness.  

Monique Reynolds has over 12 years of experience working with kids and families and has a Ph.D in Clinical Child Psychology. Being in a navy family, she has provided training to parent groups and professionals throughout the country on behavior management strategies, communicationg with teens, psychological first aid, and academic and behavioral interventions.

For more information or inquiries, you can reach Monique Reynolds, Ph.D. at