Riverside School Wellness Week
January 25, 2021
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply a state of awareness; it involves attending to the present moment and cultivating an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance of one’s experience. Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses.
Why practice Mindfulness?
The benefits are endless! Just a few include decreased stress and depressive symptoms, improved cognitive performance, better focus, healthier eating habits, increased compassion, better relationships, and more happiness in life.
Where do I begin?
Start simple! Dedicate just a few minutes (or even moments) each day to practice being present. Here are some simple steps
- Set aside some time. You don’t need a meditation cushion or bench, or any sort of special equipment to access your mindfulness skills—but you do need to set aside some time and space.
- Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Easier said than done, we know.
- Let your judgments roll by. When we notice judgments arise during our practice, we can make a mental note of them, and let them pass.
- Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, again and again, to the present moment.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up, just practice recognizing when your mind has wandered off, and gently bring it back.
Children need mindfulness more than ever to learn how to calm and re-center themselves in this world full of opportunities. Practice with your kids. Two great apps to get started are Calm and Headspace for Kids
FUN STRESS RELIEVER TO TRY AT HOME: The Body Scan (source: positivepsychology.com)
- Have your kids lie down on their back on a comfortable surface and close their eyes.
- Tell them to squeeze every muscle in their body as tight as they can.
- Tell them to squish their toes and feet, squeeze their hands into fists, and make their legs and arms as hard as stone.
- After a few seconds, have them release all their muscles and relax for a few minutes.
This simple exercise gets kids to be more aware of their bodies and helps them find a way to be present in the moment. For additional resources, visit: https://www.mindful.org/mindfulness-for-kids/
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