BRINGING up children can be emotionally-charged, with parents sometimes losing their temper or simply feeling overwhelmed.

The ideal reaction to family flashpoints would be to take a step back and calm yourself, before acting in a positive manner. And though that may sound unrealistic, believe it or not, it's possible - through mindfulness.

Mindfulness is simply about present moment awareness, focusing on the now rather than on everything that's careering through your mind.

Together with former Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter Edith Bowman, mindfulness expert Tessa Watt has just launched an app for parents, Quility, to talk them through how to be mindful.

Watt explains: "A lot of the time, we're not in this moment - the mind is tied up in knots worrying about something else we need to do, going through our to-do lists, or replaying things from the past.

"There's often a sense of rushing to get to the next thing, and mindfulness is simply training ourselves to stop and be here.

"That's really helpful with children, because if their parents aren't there for them, then who is?"

Watt, who teaches mindfulness to staff at the Houses of Parliament, says mindful parenting trials have shown the process can reduce parents' destructive behaviour, increase their ability to disengage from emotionally-charged stimuli, and reduce stress.

In addition, mindfulness has been shown to enhance parents' "emotional availability", and improve children's behaviour.

She says we can train ourselves to be mindful, and it's helpful to take five or 10 minutes a day to "recharge your batteries" by pausing as often as possible, consciously breathing, connecting to your senses, and being there for your children.

"Even if you're standing in the kitchen and there's chaos all around you, you can just take a few minutes to breathe deeply and so on. It's something you can do on your own, but it's helpful to be guided through it at first," she says.

Watt insists there's nothing alternative or "way-out" about mindfulness, pointing out that plenty of ordinary people use it every day. The comedienne Ruby Wax swears by the technique, and has even written a book about it.

"There's nothing mystical about it, we're just paying attention to our body and our breath. Anyone can do it," stresses Watt, who says studies have shown mindfulness reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, thus helping to reduce stress.

"We're pausing," she says, "so that, for example, when the kids wind us up, we're able to just stop and not react to our own emotions so much.

"It's not reacting in a knee-jerk way, but pausing and thinking, 'What's the wisest way to handle this - is it really going to help if I start screaming at my screaming toddler, or can I find another way to handle this?'"

Bowman, 42, admits that being a working mum of two young boys puts stress on her mind and wellbeing, and says: "Finding time to do all the things you need to do can itself stress you out - a project that promotes a calm state of mind and encourages you to discover the best way of achieving that has been a long time coming for me personally."

The concept of mindfulness is not a new one in Barrow as courses have been held at the Neighbourhood Management Office in Dalton Road.

The sessions were for beginners and were aimed at helping people reduce mental busyness, release tension stress and improve their general well-being. It was tied in with the Barrow Timebank as members could use their collected hours from doing good deeds to attend the workshops.

Zoe Hartley, one of the leaders of Barrow Timebank, said: "They were really successful, the evening ones more so.

"They help deal with everyday stresses of life and how to block it out and deal with it at an appropriate time and an appropriate way."