WEEK 9- Mindfulness (Mindful Body Scan)
Teachers to read and facilitate the following:
Engagement and Positive Emotion
Mindfulness is about paying attention and noticing ourselves and the things around us in a particular way. Sometimes our minds wander- we just go through the motions and our minds are not focused on what we are doing in the present moment. We might eat without tasting, look without seeing and talk without really knowing what we are saying. Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding experience (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Mindfulness is an active process leading to awareness. We focus on the present rather than the past or future, and we accept what is, without labelling it good or bad. Cultivating mindfulness leads 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). Practising mindfulness involves training our minds to focus on the present moment and notice our environment, feelings, thoughts and sensations. Mindfulness can be practised in activities such as eating, washing hands, drawing, colouring in and walking (Dimidjian and Linehan, 2003).
Description of Personal Wellbeing Practice: Mindful Body Scan
(Teacher to read script for the body scan as follows)
Today, we will practice a mindfulness exercise. You may choose to sit in your chair with hands in your lap, or lay down on the floor.
Before we begin, please be reminded that you should be comfortable, and in your own space. You are to remain silent so as not to distract anyone else, or yourself from the exercise.
Let your legs and your arms relax. Settle yourself in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
Start by taking two or three gentle, large breaths. Pay attention to how that feels. Your belly rises and falls. Air moves in and out of your body. If you like, place a hand on your belly and feel it move with each breath.
Now we’re going to pay attention to the other parts of the body. Start with your feet. They might feel warm or cold, wet or dry, relaxed or restless. It’s also okay if you feel nothing at all. If you can, relax your feet now. If that’s hard to do, that’s fine.
Now move your attention to your lower legs, noticing whatever is there. Do they feel heavy, light, warm, cold, or something else?
Next, move your attention to your knees and relax them. Feel the front, back, and sides of your knees.
Notice the upper legs and let them relax. If you feel restless or wiggly, that’s okay too. That happens.
Now move your attention to your belly. It always moves when you breathe, rising and falling, like waves on the sea. You might feel something on the inside, like full or hungry. You might notice the touch of your clothing. You might even feel emotions in your belly, like happy or sad or upset.
Next, bring your attention to your chest. Notice it rising and falling as you breathe. If you feel that it’s hard to focus, that’s normal. Gently practice coming back again and again to how your chest feels when you breathe.
Now turn your attention to your hands. There is no need to move them or do anything with them. They may be touching the floor or somewhere on your body. Relax them if you can, and if not, simply pay attention to your hands for another moment.
Move your attention up into your arms.
Now move attention to your neck and shoulders, letting go and relaxing them. If your mind wanders, that’s fine. Just keep returning to noticing your body whenever you find yourself thinking of something else.
And now feel your face and head. What expression do you have right now? What would it feel like to smile? What else do you notice in your face, your head, and in your mind?
Finally, spend a few moments, paying attention to your whole body.
Then open your eyes and slowly start to move or sit up.
(Source: https://www.mindful.org/body-scan-kids/, retrieved on 6th March 2018)
“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
UPP’s Personal Wellbeing Practices
A Personal Wellbeing Practice (PWP) is an evidenced-based positive psychology intervention, applied in school communities or other educational settings. At UPP, we have tried to make these PWP’s simple, concise and relevant for students and their teachers. The six elements for the Personal Wellbeing 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.
Unleashing Personal Potential