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Mindfulness Tools

S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P.
S Stop!
 
T Take 5 slow, deep breaths.  Trace the outline of your hand with your pointer finger.  On the way up, inhale.  On the way down, exhale.
O Observe yourself and observe your environment.
 
P Proceed with compassion.
 

Blind Contour Drawing

A drawing exercise where an artist draws the contour of a subject without looking at the paper.  It requires drawing with toalconcentration on the subject you are drawing.

Count Your Breaths

One technique you might want to try as you're learning to meditate, is counting your breaths.  This will help you quiet your thinking mind by giving it a task to complete.  After your first out breath, silently count one, and then after the next inhale and exhale, count two and so on, until you reach 10.  If you become distracted at any point, gently refocus your spotlight back on to your breath and begin again with one.

 

When you're ready to conclude your practice, it's a good idea to take a moment to acknowledge the time you have just spent cultivating calm and attention.  You might try ending with a silent affirmation and intention such as, "I am peaceful and calm.  Let me bring this into my life."

Take 5

For students who are too restless to do regular meditation.  Have them sit and quietly take note of five things they can see; then shut their eyes and count five things they hear; then notice five things they are touching.

Quiet Corner or Peace Corner

Set up a space in the classroom where children can go to deal with difficult emotions.  It might have pillows and be stocked with stuffed animals, calming books or smooth stones.  It should be inviting, not feel like a punishment.

Body Scan

The body scan is one of the basics in mindfulness, and it is an easy one to teach to children.

  • Have your kids lie down on their back on a comfortable surface and clisetheir eyes.
  • Then, tell them to squeeze every single muscle in their body as tight as they can.  Tell them to squish their toes and feet, squeeze their hands into fists, and make their legs and arms as hard as stone.
  • After a few seconds, have them release all their muscles and relax for a few minutes.  Encourage them to think about how their body is feeling thoughout the activity.

Heartbeat Exercise

Paying attention to one's heartbeat has a role in many mindfulness exercises and activities.  Kids can learn how to apply this mindfulness practice to their own lives as well.

 

Tell your kids to jump up and down in place or do jumping jacks for one minute.  When they have finished, have them sit down and put a hand over their heart.  Instruct them to close their eyes and pay attention only to their heartbeat and, perhaps, their breath as well (Roman, 2015).

 

This easy exercise shows children how to notice their heartbeat and helps them practice their focus.  These skills will come in handy as they start engaging in more advanced mindfulness activities.

Mindful Walking and Centering

For teachers, who are always on their feet: When standing, focus on the sensation of the weight on the feet and the pressure of the feet on the floor.  When walking, maintain the awareness of weight shifting from one foot to the other.

Play the Mindfulness Game: "Still Chillen"

Still Chillen

  • Everybody sits in a circle (preferably)
  • The game is a competition and the object of the game is to be the last person "still chillen" (i.e., not moving and staying still)
  • You (the facilitator) will be charged with watching the youth and calling them "out" once they move
  • They are allowed to break and blink (and keep their eyes closed if they wish), but they need to keep their face up and visible
  • Once out they should sit quietly
  • You will call filks out until there is a sole winner

Repeat for a total of 3 rounds with the below prompts in between rounds one and two, and two and three.