WEEK 30- Mindful Walking
A large space inside or outside for students to walk around without coming into contact with each other or objects. It could be a verandah, eating area, oval or laps of the classroom.
Teachers to read and facilitate the following:
Mindfulness at its simplest, is the training of attention. With enough training, our attention can become unwaveringly calm and focused (Tan,2012). Through mindfulness our minds can become clear, calm and our natural state of happiness emerges. There is an analogy we can use - think of our mind as a snow globe that is being shaken- the ‘snow’ particles (our thoughts) are floating everywhere. When we stop shaking the globe, the white ‘snow’ particles settle and the fluid inside becomes clear. Our minds can be in a constant state of snowing with thoughts and feelings. When we train ourselves in mindfulness we can learn to let the ‘snow’ particles fall and settle. Then we can have more clarity in our mind. Mindfulness is present moment awareness. It is observing what is going on in and around us, without judging anything or getting carried away by the pressures that we experience (Snel, 2013). Mindfulness can be in the form of feeling the sun on our skin, noticing the smell of the air or feeling a ripple of frustration in our body. We are to pay attention to our experiences, but not hold on to them or create a negative story about them. Being mindful involves effort and intentionality. Research shows that mindfulness can lead to: reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, greater self-awareness, less anger and frustration, increased confidence, better relationships, improved capacity for focus and concentration, better learning and greater levels of enjoyment in life (Greco et al., 2005; Semple et al., 2006).
Description of Positive Education Practice: Mindful Walking
To practice mindful walking we are going to make a line standing one behind the other and with an arm length distance between each person. There should be a designated leader at the front so everyone can follow the same path. Either do laps of the room / area or continue in a straight line. The practice should be 3 -5 minutes long.
We start by standing still. Become aware of your body and how it feels. Notice your posture, feel the weight of your body pressing down toward the ground, and your heels pushing into your shoes. Be aware of all the subtle movements that are keeping you balanced and upright.
Now begin to walk slower than normal pace, with each step, be aware of the gentle heel-to-toe rhythm as each foot makes contact with the ground. Carefully notice your foot, inside your sock, inside your shoe. Walk softly as if you are walking on eggshells.
Be aware of each movement that is made, feeling the thigh muscle lift the leg and move it into the next position, feeling the foot coming off the floor and setting it back down, feeling our arms and hands in the air. Focus on the right side for a few steps and then focus on the left side for a few steps.
When your thoughts begin to wander away from your movement, note the thought, and use your mindfulness ‘muscles’ to return your focus back to your experience in your body walking. It is the coming back and returning to your practice that is the training of attention.
It is now time to allow yourself to come to a gentle stop. Once again experiencing yourself standing still—as you feel the earth beneath your feet.
“Training your mind to be in the present moment is the #1 key to making healthier choices.” – Susan Albers
UPP’s Positive Education Practices
A Positive Education Practice (PEP) is an evidenced-based positive psychology intervention, applied in school communities or other educational settings. At UPP, we have tried to make these PEP’s simple, concise and relevant for students and their teachers. The six pillars for the Positive Education Practices are: Positive emotion (P); Engagement (E); Relationships (R); Meaning (M); Accomplishment (A); and, Health (H).
We hope that these evidence-based tools of positive psychology will enhance help people to thrive and live their best life, both within and beyond the school gates.
For more activities like this (and much more), check out THRIVE Online Lesson Modules for Pastoral Care and Wellbeing.
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