What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a technique, which involves placing your focus on the present moment and away from other thoughts. The way we think, and what we think about, can affect how we feel and act. For example, if you think, or worry a lot about upsetting past or future events, you might often feel sad or anxious.
It is understandable to want to stop thinking about difficult things, but trying to get rid of upsetting thoughts can often make us think about them even more.
The theory behind mindfulness is that by using various techniques to bring your attention to the present, you can:
- Notice how thoughts come and go in your mind. You may learn that they don't have to define who you are, or your experience of the world, and that you can let go of them
- Notice what your body is telling you. For example, you might feel tension or anxiety in your body, such as a fast heartbeat, tense muscles or shallow breathing
- Create space between you and your thoughts. With this space, you can reflect on the situation and react more calmly
Mindfulness is not a temporary state of mind that is present for a few minutes and then vanishes for the rest of the day. Rather, it is a way of living in which — when we remember — we are able to step back and be in the present moment in any situation.
Mindfulness doesn’t eliminate stress or other difficulties; instead, by becoming aware of unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of challenging situations, we have more choice in how to handle them in the moment — and a better chance of reacting calmly and empathetically when faced with stress or challenges. This does not mean we never get angry — rather it allows us to be more thoughtful in how we want to respond, whether that's calmly and empathetically or perhaps, occasionally with measured anger.
Mindfulness aims to help you:
- Become more self-aware
- Feel calmer and less stressed
- Feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
- Cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
- Be kinder towards yourself.
Whilst many people find practising mindfulness helps them manage their day-to-day wellbeing, it doesn't always work for everyone.
We then shared the following book with all children 'Imagine Eating Lemons' and ‘Your Mind is Like The Sky’ with the children in KS2 to help develop their understanding of mindfulness further.
In school, we have introduced the following techniques to the children:
- Controlled Breathing – e.g. rainbow breathing, finger breathing, breathing boards…
- Focusing on the senses (grounding)
- Guided visualisations
- Body scanning
- Listening to relaxing music
- Listening to a single sound as it fades away to silence (e.g. Tibetan singing bowls)
- Glitter Jars
Links to Further Information and Mindfulness Techniques