Mindfulness in the Classroom – Valentine Mindfulness (AKA Loving Kindness Mindfulness)

F3C141B6-DFBE-495B-A39B-4F2193566ACC

As we move towards the month of February, our minds tend to fall upon Valentine’s Day and the whole concept of LOVE. LOVE can be described in many different ways. But, really LOVE is about social connection between one or more people.

There is a fundamental need by humans for social connection; feeling kindness from and towards others allows for positive emotional well-being, improved health, decreased negative stress responses, greater empathy and heightened self-esteem.

Research by Hutcherson, Seppälä and Gross on Loving-kindness meditation that increases social connectedness, found even a few minutes of Loving Kindness meditation increased our feelings of social connection and positivity towards others. Loving-Kindness Meditations focuses on developing feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards others, increasing love, joy, gratitude, pride, hope, interest, amusement and awe.

Here are a selection of Loving-Kindness Meditations that can support the development of mindfulness for children and adults.

#RandomActsofKindness Hearts 

#RandomActsofKindness change the attitude of a class from whining and moaning to one of appreciation and gratitude.

How to:
* Discuss with children what a random act of kindness is and come up with a list of RAKs for at least the number of children in the class.
* Write these RAKs on individual hearts , fold and put into a hat/bag/bowl and allow each child to take one RAK. (NO TELLING! It is a secret!)
* Alternatively, each child can come up with their own RAK. (They are more likely to be able to do this after they get the practice of RAKs.)
* During the given time frame, the child is to complete the act WITHOUT saying they are completing the RAK. (This will also take some time as at first, they will want to tell everyone what they have done. The point of RAKs is to do a RAK without recognition. This will be the ultimate level of this mindful practice.)
* After the given time frame, as a class, discuss how completing the RAK made them feel and how they think it made the other person feel.

Loving Kindness Guided Meditations
Guided meditations focuses the mind on one aspect.  For Loving Kindness meditations, it focuses our minds of being kind to ourselves and to others.  It really is about spreading kindness.
Here are a few that you may find useful for your class and yourself:
Loving Kindness Meditation for primary children: https://youtu.be/YRwQrzogy-g
Loving Kindness Meditation for primary children :  https://youtu.be/-9_ZHnltMe0
Loving Kindness Meditation for upper primary children and teenagers: https://youtu.be/sz7cpV7ERsM
Loving Kindness Meditation for adults/ teenagers: https://youtu.be/MKtXw-tivZg

E9472D61-7329-472F-AE31-685B98A0B457

Mindful Loving Kindness Doodling
The goal of Mindful Doodling is to fully engage with your doodles in a meditative way. It requires slowing down, focusing on the paper and pen and doodling repeatively with full intent. More details, including how to and the benefits, can be found here.

While the children are doing Mindful Loving Kindness Doodling, have them focus on positive, loving and caring thoughts towards different people, including themselves. You can do this over a period of days focusing on one section at a time that would give maximum impact of the components of this mindfulness strategy.

You or the children can free hand draw your hearts or you can print out drawn hearts.

Here are some free printable heart shapes to doodle:
http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/lots-of-hearts?tag=57097
http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/hearts?tag=57097
http://www.coloringcastle.com/pdfs/shapes/s-heart.pdf

Finger Labyrinths
Labyrinths have been around for more than 4,000 years and have been used for relaxation, meditation and prayer that has brought spiritual and emotional well-being to the lives of those who used them.

Finger Labyrinths are known to help children relax, feel better when they are sad or scared, deal with situations when they feel ashamed or embarrassed and help them to concentrate. (Find out more in the Education’s Voice post on Finger Labyrinths here.)

71E622F6-DF4E-44B6-8E06-8D90F08D00D2

The Smiling HeartPath Finger Labyrinth Meditation is perfect to support the development of Mindful Loving Kindness. ( Originally found here )

Print out the Smiling HeartPath for each child, initially allow time for Mindful Colouring and then use, following the directions on the sheet.

Mindful Singing

Loving Kindness Song– Something that we know brings joy to many people is the act of singing and, with it part of the curriculum, this is another way to bring mindfulness to the forefront in an integrated way.
This Loving Kindness Dance Remix is an upbeat song that brings combines Loving Kindness with the joy of singing and great to use every day!
Meditation Dance Remix:  https://youtu.be/93mj4PaiOUo

What other Loving Kindness strategies have you used?

Advertisements

#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge – Day 10 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

image.png

The goal of Mindful Doodling is to fully engage with your doodles in a meditative way. It requires slowing down, focusing on the paper and pen and doodling repeatively with full intent. Thus, you become present in the moment.

Thus, mindful doodling:

focuses the mind
calms the body and mind
relieves stress
encourages relaxation
increases your sense of wellbeing
replaces negative or bored habits
allows you to be present and aware

Materials:

– markers, pens, pencil colours or crayons

– plain paper

How to do Mindful Doodling?

You don’t need to have any drawing skills for this to work. (This is a good point as I DO NOT have good drawing skills!) There really isn’t any right or wrong way to mindfully doodle. It is not about the end result but about the process that is being taken.

1- Draw, by freehand, a border around the outer edge.
2- In this step you can do one of three things:
Draw a string inside your border. ( A string is a simple curved line/squiggle that        will lend structure to your design as your pattern will emerge accordingly from the contours of the string. The string divides the border into sections.)
Draw straight or angled lines free hand within the border dividing the area into smaller sections.
Choose a corner of the border and begin step 3.
3- Start creating your doodle with patterns drawn with a pen or marker along the contours of the string, lines or border. Allow the pattern to reveal itself naturally.

There is no right or wrong. You can use very simple shapes, lines, dots, squiggles and more. Shade as you desire and be mindful of and deliberate with each stroke.
Keep going until you are finished. You will know when this is.

Enjoy your creation!

Remember: There are NO mistakes. So, no erasing is allowed. Embrace the mark you have made and use it to continue your meditative journey of mindfully doodling.

Top Tips:

– You can use any size paper you desire. It can be as small as a post it note or as large as a poster. It is up to you. However, I suggest that in the beginning you start on a smaller sheet as you get the hang of this mindfulness activity.
-The finer the points of the pens/markers, the finer the detail will be in the doodles.

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge Day 21 -Developing Mindfulness One Day at a Time

image

Who hasn’t begun doodling in the margins of their notes during a meeting? According to a study published by the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling while listening can help with remembering details. During the research, subjects were given a doodling task while listening to a dull phone message. 29% of the people doodling improved recall compared to their non-doodling participants.

But, this type of doodling, good as it might be, is not a mindful activity.

The goal of Mindful Doodling is to fully engage with your doodles in a meditative way. It requires slowing down, focusing on the paper and pen and doodling repeatively with full intent. Thus, you become present in the moment.

Thus, mindful doodling:

-focuses the mind
-calms the body and mind
-relieves stress
-encourages relaxation
-increases your sense of wellbeing
-replaces negative or bored habits
-allows you to be present and aware

Today, your task is to doodle!

Mindful Doodling

– All you need is a sharpened pencil or a pen and a small piece of paper.

– Find a space you can 5-10 minutes of solitude.

– You may want to put on some nice yoga or meditation music. Here is a link to some music you may enjoy: https://youtu.be/IkHJz084PgA

– To begin, sit comfortably with pen and paper. Turn on the music, take a deep mindful breath and begin.

– Make deliberate, mindful marks. There are no mistakes in Mindful doodling. Each mark leads to another mindful Mark. Allow yourself to relax into the moment and only be mindful of the design unfolding before you.

– Be aware, you can loose time while doodling. If you are on a time scale, set a timer so you are not worrying about the time as the alarm will remind you when you need to stop.

Make a mental note about this #mindfulmoment and congratulate yourself for being in the present.

Share your experiences here on the blog or on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince #MonthOfMindfulness .

* Note: If you find you really enjoy Mindful Doodling, you may want to invest in an A6 sketch pad and some very fine coloured pens.

Mindfulness in the Classroom- Mindful Doodling

MindfulDoodling2

Time to doodle!

I can almost hear the collective intake of breath at the very idea that doodling can be good for you or have anything to do with mindfulness meditation.

Doodling, over the years, has received a bad rap!

Who hasn’t begun doodling in the margins of their notes during lessons or a meeting? According to a study published by the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling while listening can help with remembering details. During the research, subjects were given a doodling task while listening to a dull phone message. 29% of the people doodling improved recall compared to their non-doodling participants.

But, this type of doodling, good as it might be, is not a mindful activity.

The goal of Mindful Doodling is to fully engage with your doodles in a meditative way. It requires slowing down, focusing on the paper and pen and doodling repeatively with full intent. Thus, you become present in the moment.

Thus, mindful doodling:

  • focuses the mind
  • calms the body and mind
  • relieves stress
  • encourages relaxation
  • increases your sense of wellbeing
  • replaces negative or bored habits
  • allows you to be present and aware

MindfulDoodling1

How to do Mindful Doodling?

You don’t need to have any drawing skills for this to work. (This is a good point as I DO NOT have good drawing skills!) There really isn’t any right or wrong way to mindfully doodle. It is not about the end result but about the process that is being taken.

  1. Draw, by freehand, a border around the outer edge.
  2. In this step you can do one of three things:
  • Draw a string inside your border. ( A string is a simple curved line/squiggle that will lend structure to your design as your pattern will emerge accordingly from the contours of the string. The string divides the border into sections.)
  • Draw straight or angled lines free hand within the border dividing the area into smaller sections.
  • Choose a corner of the border and begin step 3.
  1. Start creating your doodle with patterns drawn with a pen or marker along the contours of the string, lines or border. Allow the pattern to reveal itself naturally. There is no right or wrong. You can use very simple shapes, lines, dots, squiggles and more. Shade as you desire and be mindful of and deliberate with each stroke.
  2. Keep going until you are finished. You will know when this is.
  3. Enjoy your creation!

Remember: There are NO mistakes. So, no erasing is allowed. Embrace the mark you have made and use it to continue your meditative journey of mindfully doodling.

Top Tips:

  • You can use any size paper you desire. It can be as small as a post it note or as large as a poster. It is up to you. However, I suggest that in the beginning you start on a smaller sheet as you get the hang of this mindfulness activity.
  • The finer the points of the pens/markers, the finer the detail will be in the doodles.

MindfulDoodling3

How to share Mindful Doodling with children?

Again, there is no right or wrong way to teach children to doodle mindfully except encouraging children to be present in the moment as they are doodling. Impress on the children that there is no mistakes in the process and allow each mark to lead to the next mark.

Playing music, as described in my post Mindfulness in the Classroom- Music, will support the meditative nature of the process.

Now, get to doodling!

*Note: Some people call this Zendoodling or Zentangle.