There can sometimes be a misconception about mindfulness. Some people believe that mindfulness is a way of escaping from stress or a way of keeping stress away from you. This is untrue.
Mindfulness will not become some magical shield from stress in your life. No matter how little stress we may have in our lives, our brains will always perceive the most stressful event, no matter how small, as being extremely stressful. Mindfulness gives you the tools to deal with the stress of life.
The key to mindfulness is not getting rid of stress, it is learning how to react to stress.
Even with the best will in the world, our lives get taken over by life. We begin the morning with good intentions; we meditate, we take mindful moments while we brush our teeth and make our tea. But, as our day gets into full swing, our old habits set in and our reptilian brains take over. We react without thought or purpose. Our cortisol levels rise and rise until we are an exhausted heap of human mess.
So, what can you do about that?
Mindful Refocus allows you to return your awareness to the present moment. In order to give myself a frequent reminder, I choose a mindful object.
Once you are dressed for the day, choose an object you are wearing to be your mindful object. It can be a ring, your id badge, necklace, tie, shoes, your watch, a button on your shirt, etc. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is something you will see several times.
During the day, at any point you notice your mindful object, touch it, and complete a Mindful Refocus.
This simple meditation takes only seconds. But, it gives mindful focus for those few seconds and calms the mind so that you can be the best person possible.
Mindful Refocus Activities:
1- Deep Breathing– Take three, deep mindful breaths paying attention to the air flowing in and out your body.
2- Sound Meditation– Close your eyes for a moment, stop and listen to the sounds around you. Focus on the pitch, vibration through your body or distance of the sound.
3- Colour Meditation– Choose a colour that you will decide to notice. Take a deep breath and notice five things with that colour.
4- Shoulder Relaxation– Breath deeply and, on the exhale, allow your shoulders to drop towards the floor as if someone is pressing them downward. Repeat a few times, noticing how your body feels as your shoulders relax.
5- Count Backwards– Take a deep breath and count backwards from 60. Concentrate just on the counting, allowing your body to relax more with each number.
Always remember that mindfulness is not about getting rid stress but how we react to the stress.
Find more mindfulness strategies for children and adults here: www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com or for more ideas for teachers, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom published by Bloomsbury. More information can be found here.