“Harnessing the Four Elements” is a sample activity from the book Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety, and is reprinted here with permission from New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
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This simple practice is easy to remember, because it involves just knowing the four elements—earth, air, water, and fire—that formed the basis of many ancient beliefs. It works best standing, although you can do it sitting down.
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First, feel your feet rooted deeply in the earth like a tree. You are making contact with earth, the first element. Earth is solid and will hold you stable. Feel the earth beneath you; you can even imagine roots burrowing deep into the earth.
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Next, feel the air at your nostrils. Air makes us free and independent. Air represents the power of our minds, blowing away our fears. Feel your chest and belly open and expand with each breath.
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Once you have connected with air, take a moment to just swallow the saliva in your mouth, and follow it into your belly. The element water flows, settles, and reflects.
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Lastly, feel the energy from deep inside your body. This is the fire of life that gives us confidence, strength, and power in the world.
Take a moment now to connect with each element: earth with its stability, air of independence, water of reflection, and fire of life. Ask yourself whether you need more of any of these qualities as you face a challenge.
From The Mindfulness Workbook for Teen Anxiety by Dr. Christopher Willard © New Harbinger Publications, 2014. Reprinted with permission. www.newharbinger.com
Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety (recommended book)
Child's Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed (recommended book, by the same author)
Best Practices in Teaching Mindfulness to Children (author interview)
Noticing the Five Senses (a daily mindfulness log)
Trying on Different Shapes: mindfulness of mood and posture