What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of breathing and focus techniques that help one intentionally reset their mental state and enhance emotional and physical wellness through calming and awareness. It means intentionally choosing to recognize the feelings and situations that impact our daily lives and the world around us. When practicing mindfulness throughout the day, one is maintaining an awareness of the thoughts, feelings, reactions, attitudes, situations, and environmental factors that have an impact on daily life.
How can mindfulness benefit our students?
- Deep 4 count breathing is scientifically proven to calm the nerves and maximize oxygen flow. When practiced repeated times, this allows for increased calmness, and combats stress with great success.
- Being mindful throughout the day is also shown to improve one’s social awareness and increase one’s level of empathy toward others, as well as oneself. When one is intentionally paying attention to the the emotions and thoughts of others, this is an automatic deterrent from conflict.
- Consistent practice of mindfulness increases self-control. This is a great benefit for physical health, as well as avoiding unwanted situations.
- Mindfulness is shown to have benefit on test scores and other grades because it helps our students learn to cope with specific types of life stressors, and helps to create balance and positive habits.
How is mindfulness used in our school?
- Mindfulness is taught through advisory and a curriculum called Mind Up. The book focuses greatly on scientific research and helping our students to understand the functions of the brain.
- Mindfulness is taught more in depth through an elective course which is broken down by the following:
Mindful Mondays: Students participate in brief mindfulness practices geared toward our thinking patterns. We then build on what students learn in advisory by looking specifically at scientific research about the brain and its functions. We look at scientifically backed articles and videos on the brain, fight, flight, and freeze response, perspective, attitude, etc.
Gratitude Tuesday: Students participate in a brief mindfulness practice activity geared toward gratitude. We then discuss, journal, and participate in activities geared toward helping students see outside the box on what it means to live in gratitude.
Wellness Wednesday: Students participate in deep breathing activities and research, journals, and discussion on various areas of wellness, including mental, physical, emotional, environmental, and social wellness.
Thoughtful Thursday:Students participate in mindfulness activities and watch news clips, videos, PSAs, etc. that help to increase awareness of world situations, cultural differences, and more. We focus on achievable and simple acts of kindness that will make a difference on a daily basis.
Freedom Friday: On these days we take mindful walks as weather allows, we free-write in journals, we openly discuss concerns, and we focus on relationship building.