Mindful Month: March

March Madness Mindfulness?

We’ve all heard about it. We’ve heard the chimes, smelled the diffused essential oils, scrolled past smug social media posts, stumbled upon a scene of silent cross-legged serenity.  Maybe we’ve even sat ourselves down and tried hard to clear out our brain, quash our thoughts, and focus on our breath, determined to sit momentarily on an island of quiet in an ocean of stimulation. But the thoughts are still there, the mind wanders, the world is loud and fast and stressful, and we’re going – what even is this whole mindfulness thing anyway?

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What Mindfulness Is…

Great question! Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “…paying attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” No essential oils or crossed legs in sight. In fact, the idea of “clearing the mind” is not even a requirement to practice mindfulness – brains are not wired to be emptied!  Instead, mindfulness is the practice of observing our minds and our thoughts, often using our breath to anchor ourselves in what is happening right now, in this present moment.

Mindfulness becomes something that can happen standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in traffic, parenting through a toddler tantrum, or teaching a math class.  It’s a tool in our Social and Emotional Learning toolbox; a resource for adults and young people to reach for that bolsters self-efficacy, reduces stress, increases empathy, boosts student learning and employee productivity, and can even help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Indeed, recent brain research shows that even simple mindfulness practices can physically, positively affect crucial structures in our brain.

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Sign us up!

Sounds good, right? Want to incorporate mindfulness practices into your lives and classrooms? We have myriad resources…

Paying Attention to Paying Attention

Are you ready to try out some mindfulness practices, and see how they affect your life in and out of school? Share your plans and ideas in the comments, and let us know how it’s going by using the hashtag #MindfulAISD!

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