Contributed by Wendy Brant, OTR/L

Mindfulness is having conscious awareness of your physical and mental experience, in the moment, without the passing of judgment.

Among other benefits, research indicates that mindfulness can benefit emotional regulation, self-awareness, cognitive flexibility, working memory, focus, and stress reduction.

Here are some tips for making mindfulness a part of the school day:

  • Teach the theory, but keep it simple. Focus on awareness of self, body, emotions, breathing. Clarify how mindfulness might be relevant in your students’ lives. Some examples may include decreased test anxiety, improved concentration for school and hobbies, and less illness by lowering stress.
  • Start slowly and build mindfulness into the curriculum by bringing awareness to student’s feelings, breathing, and internal sensations such as thirst, hunger, heart rate, and muscle tension, during different times of the day.
  • Keep student grade level books on mindful awareness in the classroom and library.
  • Offer self-reflective journaling opportunities to build self-awareness.
  • Take breaks during the day for quiet deep breathing, especially during and after high-stress situations.
  • Young children can practice self and body awareness with some simple balance poses when lining up. followed by some deep breaths. This can also promote better behavior during transitions.

References and Resources:

· https://www.changetochill.org/ (Mindfulness website geared to teens including mindfulness audio breaks)

· http://www.mindfulteachers.org/p/free-resources-and-lesson-plans.html (Excellent resource for teachers wanting to implement classroom mindfulness techniques)

· https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/jul/23/how-to-mindfulness-classroom-tips

· https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5238/5-Tips-to-Introduce-Mindfulness-in-the-Classroom.html