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Being Mindful in the Classroom

Being Mindful in the Classroom

April 1, 2018

 

Let's face it, these days we live in fear. We are an anxious lot. Our kids are growing up afraid of all the bad things that could happen in their lives, to the point that many are afraid of going to school. I never imagined a world where this could be so, but it is.

What do we do about it? We could strengthen our defenses against violence that might enter the classroom. We could install security equipment, train school personnel, ask military vets to maintain a presence.

Or we could work toward a more peaceful solution, one that isn't difficult either. Let's put mindfulness in the classroom.

Practicing mindfulness builds bonds and creates a feeling of connectedness. Simply put, it is paying attention to ourselves, others and the world around us. We are all part of this planet and have challenges to overcome.

 

Mindfulness is based on simple concepts, according to Calm Classroom (calmclassroom.com):

  • Self-awareness: If we understand how our emotions and thoughts affect our behavior, we can make more conscious, responsible decisions.
  • Mental focus: Cut out the distractions and build the ability to focus.
  • Emotional resilience: Learn to manage emotions and achieve a state of calm when we need to.

There are many practices, which are simple to learn and use, that can help kids and teachers achieve the above. Most only take a few minutes, offering calming moments in a bustling school day.

Ideas for mindfulness practices can be found at the Positive Psychology Program website (positivepsychologyprogram.com/mindfulness-for-children-kids-activities). They include:

  • Sit quietly, outside if possible, and use all of your senses to notice what is going on around you. What do you hear? What do you see? etc.
  • Strike a Superman or Wonder Woman pose and notice how it feels physically and emotionally. This really works.
  •  Notice your breathing. Imagine a boat rising and falling on the waves as you breathe in and out. Imagine your breath is a color and you are a fish breathing in air for the first time.

Many New Mexico teachers and students are already mindfully working through the school day. Rio Grande School offers mindful parenting workshops to include parents and families in their mindfulness practices.

Simple daily practices like this lead to amazingly good things when we face problems like bullying, ADHD, the acquisition of social skills and good mental health. 

Michelle Worley

BIO- Michelle Worley is executive director of the online nonprofit Live and Learn New Mexico! (L&LNM), which celebrates learning and all that is New Mexico. She lives in Moriarty and has a bachelor's degree in English and a master's in Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies, both from UNM. She has worked in the fields of secondary and post-secondary education but has always wanted to be a writer when she grows up. She is now working toward that goal by enjoying the writing life as an award-winning blogger, blogging about anything and everything that interests her, and encouraging others to follow their bliss.

https://liveandlearnnm.blogspot.com/

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