Mindfulness is a buzz word that is everywhere nowadays...but what exactly is it?
The dictionary defines it this way:mind·ful·nessˈmīn(d)f(ə)lnəs/noun1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. "their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition"2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness basically means being aware of what is happening right now...the sounds you are hearing, the smells you are smelling, the things you are seeing, being aware of how your body feels, etc. In the words of author Julia Cook, "Be where your feet are."
Mindfulness techniques teach us how to stop, breathe, and focus inward. It has gained popularity because research has found that mindfulness helps us focus better, think more creatively, make better choices, and do better academically.
You may be thinking...that sounds like meditation, but it is different. Click on the Hoberman Sphere to go to a website that explains the difference between mindfulness and meditation.
Throughout the year, I will post some mindfulness ideas and exercises here for you to try.
**One of the first things to learn about mindfulness is to learn how to recognize that you are at the brink of something (angry outburst, tears, yelling, etc) and then to calm yourself down. I tell the kids, and my adult friends, to stop and breathe first. This link is a good video to watch for kids and adults alike. It references that our thoughts and feelings are like glitter in a jar. In the next few days, I will make a video that shows you how to make a glitter jar at home and post it here. In the meantime, please watch this video...and remember to breathe and let your glitter settle.
**Here is link to a You Tube video with mindfulness activities for kids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqMRbAHANDY
**Here is a link to some ideas for adults to use to help themselves...remember, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, in order to help others.
**This link if full of great information about Mindfulness and yoga for adults and kids.**
Another Mindfulness activity - "Using Your Senses"
Materials needed: Find an object that can be experienced using all (or most) of your senses.
For this example, I'll talk about a piece of chocolate (either Dove or a Hershey's Kiss).
Procedure: This whole activity is to be done without the participant saying anything (as the kids know it...voice level 0). You can have a narrator going through the steps out loud so that you can focus on the activity insted of reading. It can be done alone if you memorize the steps. Also, you need to take about 30 seconds to 1 minute per step. Let's begin...
Hold your wrapped piece of chocolate in your hand. Look at it and focus on the shape. Then focus on the wrapper...it's color and texture. Next, unwrap your candy, focus on any sound it might make as you unwrap it, but don't eat it. Close your eyes and smell of the chocolate and think about what it smells like. How does it feel? Is it smooth or rough? With your eyes still closed take a tiny bite and just hold it on your tongue. Think about how that feels. Can you taste anything? Is is melting or staying solid? Finally, you may keep your eyes closed, or open them, and eat the rest of your piece of candy.
Hopefully, you will feel more relaxed and will have enjoyed your candy more than usual.