Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
What is mindfulness? Being mindful means being aware of what’s happening within and outside of yourself. How are you feeling? What’s going on around you? How are you responding to your surroundings? It means looking at your life objectively instead of reacting emotionally. Most of us go through each day on autopilot. Mindfulness gives us the opportunity to change what you’re doing in the moment instead of regretting it later.
There’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain (www.mindful.org).
How do you do Mindfulness?
• First pause and focus on what is happening around you. What do you see or hear? Take a moment to get out of autopilot and pay attention to your surroundings. Close your eyes if that helps you focus.
• Then narrow your focus to how your body feels. Start from your head and work your way down. Pay attention to areas that are tense or uncomfortable. It may be in your neck and shoulders, or maybe in your stomachache.
• Focus on your breathing and take slow deep breaths.
• Finally ask yourself “how am I feeling in this moment?” Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, and then create a healthy response to manage them. For example, instead of avoiding school or classes because you’re overwhelmed and behind, just focus on one class at a time and one assignment at a time.
Being mindful of the moment will help you handle stress and develop healthy behaviors. It takes practice but well worth the effort.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Challenger's school nurse, Joy Boton, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-586-7001, extension 2225.