What is Mindfulness? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (mindful.org), the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Or in other words, It's about knowing what is going on in your mind (Jon Kabat-Zinn: Defining Mindfulness - Mindful) Mindfulness in School Mindfulness can help us, adults and/or children, be more aware of any reaction or overwhelmed response which may arise especially during difficult times. It can help to ground us in such moments through simple practises such as sitting, walking, standing, or even eating. By noticing and bringing attention and awareness into everyday life and/or activities. These practices can help us to develop inner resources to notice our reactions, deal with everyday worries or stress, build skills to make good choices instead of reacting, and importantly appreciate the 'good things or moments' we may have otherwise missed out.
Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help young people to ANCHOR by feeling grounded, safe and the choice on how they respond. Other benefits include helping and improving Mental Wellness such as low mood, stress, anxiety, overall wellbeing and resilience by building tools to support self regulation for BEHAVIOUR including impulses, aggression to ADHD. Mindfulness has been researched to support PHYSICAL HEALTH like cortisol and immunity, heart rate to sleep quality. By practising Mindfulness, it is shown to help us to FLOURISH whether it is SOCIAL and EMOTIONAL in self esteem, self care, relationships to compassion, or towards LEARNING by developing executive functioning skills like attention, planning, memory to cognitive flexibility.
How are we carrying out Mindfulness in the clinic?
In the clinic, following the curriculum based on the Mindfulness in School Project UK (https://mindfulnessinschools.org/teach-dots-3-6/) and the core principles of Mindfulness, the children learn through direct experience of the practices. By exploring through senses, bringing the element of noticing and directing attention with the body and mind may it be breathing, sensations in our body, thoughts and feelings, and everyday activities such as walking, and eating.
By incorporating Mindfulness elements into our therapy sessions, the child develops skills to focus, make good choices and recognise when we need to steady self, especially when the body or mind is busy and out of balance. Mindfulness can support development of executive functioning skills such as memory, attention, self-regulating and building skills for social interactions.
Teacher Cheryl is a certified mindfulness coach to teach Dots, which is a mindfulness programme for young children and teaching mindfulness in schools (Mindfulness in School Project UK).