Across the world, more and more schools are introducing mindfulness to students in order to enhance performance, increase self-awareness and reduce anxiety. The aim of mindfulness training for students is to give students tools to help them remain calm, sustain their attention and to focus more consistently and rationally when faced with everyday challenges, cognitive demands and academic pressures.
The practice of mindfulness has been linked to a range of positive outcomes such as physical health, greater wellbeing, and reduced anxiety and depression. The basic principle behind mindfulness is that we often engage ourselves in experiences and situations without being fully present or without being aware of our own thoughts and feelings.
We would like to share a few exercises that can help you and your child to become fully aware of yourself and what happens around you in the hope that it brings a sense of calm and connectedness.
- Be mindful of what is around you – for various reasons, we often go through life in a state of high stress which impacts on the way we feel and respond to different situations. The next exercise will help with slowing down and becoming more mindful about what is around you.
Sight: look around you and name 5 different objects
Sight and touch: look at, name and touch 4 different objects, noticing their texture, colours, temperature, etc.
Sight, touch and smell: Look at, name and smell 3 different objects, noticing their colour smells and aroma.
Hearing: Close your eyes and listen out for 5 different sounds
- Be mindful of your thoughts – our thoughts can often get in the way of our learning, our work and can leave us feeling unhappy, frustrated or unmotivated. It becomes very unhelpful when we start treating our thoughts as facts and eventually condensing our thoughts into beliefs. The following exercise will help you to de-stress, see your thoughts just as thoughts, not facts. Thoughts do not have to be good or bad, negative or positive, they are just thoughts.
Sit still with a straight posture, feel yourself slow down and ask yourself the question – “what is going on for me at the moment?” – you may get a range of answers, observe any thoughts or feelings, but do not judge these thoughts or feelings, instead let them float away.
Do your best to observe every thought, feeling, emotion around you and let them float away without engaging in it.
At first these exercises may feel uncomfortable and unusual, but try and notice how these exercises made you feel after. Were any of these exercises more difficult than others and how could you overcome any difficulties that you experienced? You may want to try these exercises by yourself first or you may wish to do them together with your child.
You can have a look at the following websites for more mindfulness exercises and information to help you and your child manage any anxiety, academic and exam stress, or just to begin using mindfulness in your everyday lives:
From the Counselling Team