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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!