What is mindfulness?

Essentially, mindfulness is being present in the moment by acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings and thoughts in that moment. Mindfulness does not mean emptying your brain – rather, it helps you become an observer of your thoughts without getting stuck in them. We can practice mindfulness by maintaining an awareness of our  feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations and the surrounding environment. Paying attention on purpose, without judgement, helps us become aware of what’s going on in our heads and bodies, which leads to self-discovery and self-acceptance. 

So why should I practice mindfulness in my classroom?

There is no special equipment or training needed.

Practicing mindfulness can teach students essential skills to cope with anxiety and stress, while also helping them develop self-regulation habits; this is especially effective in schools/classrooms that have students affected by trauma. 

By this time, most of us know that it’s hard to get a lesson across if students aren’t ready to learn. Imagine starting each day with a two-minute mindful breathing session – how would that benefit you? Well, controlled breathing calms the nervous system, which tells the brain that “all is well”, essentially putting one in a state of relaxation. Teaching students to pay attention to their breathing also teaches them to pay attention to other things. So, if students are calm and relaxed in the classroom, there’s a much better chance your lesson will go smoothly.

Mindfulness benefits not only the student, but the teacher and school as well. By practicing mindfulness, students learn social-emotional and self-regulation skills, among other things. Teaching students to be present in the present moment, to acknowledge and accept their thoughts/feelings while allowing them to be still and feel silence is very empowering. Accepting the present moment as it is, without wanting to change it is something most adults struggle to do; imagine what could happen if students practiced it daily.

Here’s a video I found explaining the power of mindful-thinking through aboriginal perspective. Hope you enjoy!

Until next time,

S.

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