2017 – The Year of Mindfulness

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I find it interesting that a random date can have so much significance. Why should the 1st January mark the beginning of a new year, the beginning of fresh starts or a difference of such significance that copious amounts of sparkly beverages and loud fireworks blast into the air?

We should treat each new day with the same exuberance and positive outlook that we use to celebrate a new year on a calendar.

Earlier this week I shared my Mindful New Year’s Resolutions. Life is not easy. As we go about our lives, it can feel like a roller coaster. Some days are exciting, peaceful and perfectly awe inspiring and other days plunge us to the very edge of insanity. Taking control of the ride takes daily practice, even for the most experienced.

Even for the most experienced mindfulness practitioners, a refreshing of mindfulness practice can bring us deeper peace and control of our emotions.

So, let’s kick start 2017 and work on developing our own mindfulness so that we can be models for others around us.

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge will only take a few minutes a day. There will be some tasks that you take to easily and there will be others that will not suit you. That is ok. This is about opening up and building your toolkit of mindfulness strategies.

The #MonthOfMindfulness Challenge can be started on ANY day. So, don’t worry if you don’t begin on 1st January. Just begin on Day 1 and take it one day at a time!

Share the strategies with others, document your progress and give yourself permission to be more mindful in 2017.

Follow me on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/

You can also email me at EVMindfulness@outlook.com .

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How To Start Developing Mindfulness in the Classroom

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You have made the decision to try teaching mindfulness in your classroom. What do you do next?

1- Take the time to consider your own mindfulness. My personal action research shows that the greatest impact in the development of a child’s mindfulness is the development of the teacher’s mindfulness. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert. But, it does mean even a rudimentary understanding of how it supports your own well being will allow you the experience to explain it to children.

Have a look at the posts Teacher and Leader Mindfulness or take the #MonthOfMindfulness Challenge. These are great starting points. Also, follow me on this blog, on Twitter, @Ed_Tmprince, and/or on Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ . I post lots of ideas to support adults and children a like.

2- Read through the Mindfulness in the Classroom Series. Here you will find approximately 50+ strategies to try and then there is my book, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness in the Classroom published by Bloomsbury Publishing in October 2017 that can be found here: http://tiny.cc/TPMindfulness

3- Choose a couple of mindfulness techniques you feel comfortable with, introduce them to your class and start using the. Have the strategy be part and parcel of your classroom practice. Practice it when they are calm and encourage its use when they are not.

My suggestion is that the first strategy taught and used on a daily basis is the breathing as this forms the basis of several strategies. Basic deep breathing is an easy strategy to teach and encourage through regular classroom practice.

I also suggest about 30 minutes of mindful practice a week which comes to 6 minutes a day. I also suggest that there is at least one guided meditation per week.

4- As you and your class get comfortable, add in new strategies.

Top Tips:

1- This is not a one off. You have to keep at it every day. Some teachers see immediate change and some take a few weeks. This is not a race. These are life long skills that requires a remodelling of thought processes and reactions.

2- Not every strategy will work with every child. That is ok! You will find the same with yourself. If it doesn’t seem to work, move on to a new strategy.

3- Be very clear about the strategies you are teaching them and why. Explain what you are doing and explain the science of it as well. Encourage them to support each other and YOU when they see upset, anger, sadness, anxiety, etc.

4- Let others working with your children know that when they are in the classroom, you are using these strategies and encouraging their use. It can seem a little odd or even naughty to see a child take themselves off to a quiet area, shake a glitter bottle (mind jar) and start doing deep breathing.

5- Let the children see YOU being mindful when required! Modelling the strategies when YOU need them is very powerful!

6- Mindfulness should be taught to a class as a whole and not just to vulnerable groups of children. ALL children need these life skills and when they see it is just a normal thing to do, they will all start doing it and it will have the impact you desire.

7- If all else fails, you need support, want training for yourself or your school or you want to share your successes, contact me through this blog, via Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or through my Facebook page, Education’s Voice- Mindfulness at https://m.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ .

8- Check out my Book by Bloomsbury Publishing, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom. Finout more about the book here: https://educationsvoice.wordpress.com/the-book/

Now, take a deep breath and give it a try!

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge Day 30 – Developing Mindfulness One Day at a Time

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Congratulations! Today is the last day of #MonthOfMindfulness. I hope you have found the month useful in developing your own practice. I have tried to give you a taste of a variety of strategies to use to find some inner peace and reduce stress.

Remember, mindfulness is not a cure all and it does take continued practice each day. (You wouldn’t train for a marathon by running for 5 hours one day and not running again would you?) The more you practice the easier it becomes. Eventually, it will be natural and more of a habit than negative reactions.

You must remember that mindfulness is about you controlling the thoughts and not your thoughts controlling you.

Today, you will choose your own mindfulness task. There have been 29 over the month.

Which one do you enjoy the most?

Which one seems to be the most effective?

Which one is taking you further down the mindfulness path?

As always, 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 .

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge Day 29 – Developing Mindfulness One Day at a Time

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As you know by now, breathing is a very important part of mindfulness. Most of the strategies we have used this month used breathing in one way or another. This natural relaxation technique has helped get me through many difficult situations.

Today, we will use breathing as the focus to be in the moment and relax. It will also support your development of being in control of your thoughts.

100 Breaths

– Sit or lay comfortably in a place you can be undisturbed for 5 minutes.

– Close your eyes and allow your shoulders to relax.

– Take 10 deep mindful breaths, focusing only on the breath.

– Allow your mind to wander to other thoughts for 2 seconds, then let them drift away as you refocus on your breathing.

– Take 10 more deep mindful breaths and then let your mind wander again.

– Repeat the process until you have taken a total of 100 breaths.

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 .

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge Day 28 – Developing Mindfulness One Day at a Time

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Are you noticing and taking pleasure in the simple things in life? This month we have brought to attention the things we do on autopilot and focusing on those moments.

Today, we will be focusing on a very important life giving force, water. The medical profession says we should be drinking about 8 cups/2 litres of water a day. Drinking water hydrates our body and allows us to focus better on the work at hand.

I know that some of you do not like drinking water. But, today you need to drink plain water for this meditation. It can be from the tap or from a bottle. But, it does need to be unflavoured.

Water Meditation

– Pour yourself a glass of plain water. (It can have ice.)

– Sit down with your water and allow yourself to be aware of drinking the water.

– Take a sip. Allow the sip to linger in the mouth. Notice the temperature of the liquid against your tongue, cheeks, gums and palate. What can you taste? Is there a sweetness, bitterness, acidic or even slightly salty taste?

– Notice the sensations of the water being swallowed and flowing down your throat and into your stomach.

– Continue to be mindful of each sip; allowing yourself to be in the very present moment of drinking your water.

Drink at least three glasses of water like this today.

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 .

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge Day 27 – Developing Mindfulness One Day at a Time

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The key to mindfulness is not being in the present every moment of the day. That is not possible and not appropriate for a successful life; you do need some time to reflect in order to improve and prepare for the future. The key is being able to refocus yourself in the present at your will and not at the will of your meandering thoughts.

Refocusing without judgement is a positive mindful activity.

Today, we will refocus using a reminder, Colour Meditation.

Colour Meditation

– Choose a colour and decide to notice that colour during the day. Take the time to notice the objects and people wearing that colour.

– Have your noticed something or someone you have never noticed before? How many different things are you noticing? (I always surprise myself when I buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice that car EVERYWHERE!)

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 .

#MonthOfMindfulness Challenge Day 26 – Developing Mindfulness One Day at a Time

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We all have times when we have negative feelings toward someone in our lives. At times we can become preoccupied with that person, creating a spin of negative emotions.

Today, we are going to practice Loving Kindness Meditation. This meditation encourages openness and empathy while also helping to strengthen our sense of connection with others.

Loving Kindness Meditation

– Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably. (From start to finish, this task will take about 15 minutes.)

– Using a tablet, smart phone or computer go here: https://youtu.be/sz7cpV7ERsM

– sending kindness to someone you dislike or who has made you angry will probably feel hard or negative at first. But, those feelings should fade away as you continue to meditate.

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 .