Mindfulness is a powerful tool. Often misunderstood, mindfulness has been misconceived in the past as a “kumbaya,” crunchy practice, when in reality, it has so many benefits for children and adults alike.  Dating back many centuries, mindfulness is the simple practice of bringing your attention to the present moment. Mindfulness is primarily used for addressing stress and worry by promoting focus, peacefulness and awareness. 

As children grow, life becomes more complicated. There is an increased pressure to perform well in school, build social connections, participate in multiple extracurricular activities and even look a certain way. The pace of life increases, requiring children to attend to these many expectations at a faster rate. It is no surprise that the most common mental health problem in childhood is anxiety disorders, which are now diagnosed in 1/10 children and rising. Mindfulness is an incredible tool to combat anxiety, because it can be done anywhere and by anyone. It does not require tools or prompts. It does not require a certain environment. Mindfulness skills such as breathing, stretching, and guided attention exercises are always fully accessible to the child.

Not very familiar with mindfulness for students? Look at all of the incredible benefits! 

  • Strengthens self-control by bringing awareness and accountability to behavioral choices
  • Decreases anxiety by regulating heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improves decision making by training the brain to focus on situations at hand
  • Increases self-esteem by encouraging acceptance and compassion
  • Improves social skills and communication by increasing awareness of thoughts and feelings, reducing emotional reactivity

Your students have learned many techniques over the past quarter to practice mindfulness. Because mindfulness is a skill it takes time to develop, so I would encourage you to continue building mindfulness in to your days at home. Whether it becomes part of your dinner blessing or bedtime routine, mindfulness can benefit the whole family. Check out some of the mindfulness practice resources below:

Rainbow breathing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O29e4rRMrV4
Melting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTzXFPh6CPI
Yoga: https://www.kidsyogastories.com/kids-yoga-poses/

Ally Bayard, School Counselor