When the alarm goes off, are you jumping out of bed, thinking about the many things you have to do for the day? OR…are you able to take a moment and say, “I am alive, I am still breathing, life is good!”
Mindfulness can be defined by: being aware of our surroundings, feelings, emotions and how they impact us. Paying attention on purpose and being in the present moment.
Mindfulness also aids in lowering stress and helping the mind focus more clearly. Furthermore, mindfulness boosts creativity, concentration, and overall self-awareness.
Adding mindfulness to the curriculum allows students to: regulate emotions, moods, sleep, and learning readiness. When students have prolonged exposure to childhood toxic stress it has a lifelong impact on mental and physical health. Solid scientific evidence suggests that mindfulness and meditation improves attention, (strengthens our “mental muscle” for bringing focus back where we want it, when we want it), self-control, emotional resilience (seeing things objectively reduces the amount of narrative we add to the world’s natural ups and downs), memory and immune response, increases IQ levels, decreases academic stress, improves academic performance, increases levels of focus, reduces depression and anxiety, reduces destructive addiction, lowers absenteeism, and creates happier and more compassionate (awareness of our own thoughts, emotions, and senses grows our understanding of what other people are experiencing) students.
There are several ways to incorporate mindfulness into the classroom and you can start with some of the following:
- Create a mindful mantra each day/each week
- “Disconnect to Reconnect”
- “Attitude of Gratitude”
- Encourage Students to use a Mindful App
- Smiling Mind
- Meditate with your Students Once/Week (5-15 minutes)
- Use a Chime or Bell to Start Class
For more information, check out the following websites: https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/