From kindergarten through to college, one of the main tenants of education today is Social Emotional Learning, or SEL. As educators know all too well, the benefits of SEL are innumerable. This methodology helps students of all ages to better comprehend their emotions as well as to show empathy for others.
When taught together, SEL and mindfulness can have an even greater impact on students. That’s one of the many reasons we have launched our Mindfulness Champions initiative this year across Miami-Dade Public Schools.
As students return to in-person learning after time away due to the pandemic, many are experiencing high stress due to feelings of anxiety, exclusion or loneliness, and difficulty balancing relationships, sports, and academics.
Mindfulness is a valuable practice for students to become more grounded in the present moment with their experiences as they are. A student’s ability to manage stressful thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without avoiding, suppressing, or magnifying them is vital for their everyday wellbeing, relationships, and future success.
As a teacher or parent, how can you empower your student(s) to embark on their own mindfulness journey?
Invite your students to notice and name any body sensations, thoughts, or emotions they’re experiencing through daily mindfulness practices. “Five Senses Grounding” is a self-soothing practice that encourages activating the senses in a mindfulness moment.
Encourage your student(s) to bring the qualities of mindfulness to everyday activites such as exercise, eating. communication, or getting ready for school. Even a few minutes a day will begin to create benefits.
The most important factor in bringing mindfulness to others is your own personal practice. Consistency leads to embodiment of mindfulness which is different from modeling behavior. When you set time aside each day for mindfulness, you will be able to share an understanding of mindfulness with your students from not only your head, but also your heart and body.
It may sound counterintuitive, yet, making time for mindfulness will create more spaciousness in your day.