The Spirited School Counselor

Mindfulness in Schools. Part 1: What is it?


mindfulness part1Disclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliated links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item I will receive a small commission. With that said, I only recommend items that I have found useful as a school counselor and educator. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Lately I have seen a lot of questions on both twitter and facebook groups regarding mindfulness. I thought it may be helpful to share some of the things I have learned about mindfulness over the last 6 months through a class in my graduate program, as well as an online class via Mindful Schools.  This is part 1 of a 3 part serious on mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the creator of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program defines mindfulness as “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”

In short, it is paying attention. 

This seems like a simple thing to do; however, it can be quite challenging. As I went through the Mindful Schools course Mindfulness Fundamentals we were asked to start practicing mindfulness regularly. We started slowly with a couple of minutes and slowly working our way to 30 minutes. While practicing I slowly realized that the point is NOT to have a quiet mind, but instead to take time out of my day to have quiet moments to focus my attention.

Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate, explains mindfulness in this video:

So how do you do “mindfulness?”

It is recommended that you get in a mindful posture – feet on floor and sitting up with lands on your lap. Typically I maintain my focus on my breath. Yes, my mind would and still does wander (and yours will too); however, I am able to notice my thoughts and then bring my attention back to my breath. I have also recently started using anchor phrases, like “All is well, I am well” or “Out with stress, In with peace.” I use these phrases if I notice I am having a difficult time keeping my attention on my breath. By saying these words I am able to focus on them rather than the “noise” of a to-do list. These phrases also help me calm down.

If you practice mindfulness, what have you found helpful?

Why is mindfulness useful personally and in schools? 

Check back soon and in my next post I will share some research in Part 2. Part 3 will focus on resources and curriculum.


Thanks for stopping by!



Author: thespiritedschoolcounselor

Hey there! I started blogging about my experiences through graduate school and now have continued as a working school counselor. I am currently working in an elementary school but try hard to keep up-to-date on all things school counselor, as well as topics in education. I hope to share ideas, document what I am doing, network, be inspired, inspire, and collaborate with others through this blog. My professional portfolio can be found here: Thanks for stopping by!

5 thoughts on “Mindfulness in Schools. Part 1: What is it?

  1. So glad to see this series–I have been interested in learning more about mindfulness for myself and my students! Looking forward to part 2.

    • Learning about mindfulness (and using it) has been nothing but a positive experience for me. Part 2 is a quick over view of research with a couple of links at the bottom. Part 3 will focus more on actual curriculum, books, and resources to help you start practicing mindfulness and teaching students. Thanks for reading!

  2. Pingback: Mindfulness in Schools. Part 2: Research Says… | The Spirited School Counselor

  3. Pingback: Mindfulness in Schools. Part 3: Curriculum & Resources | The Spirited School Counselor

  4. Pingback: Mindfulness in Action | The Spirited School Counselor

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