What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of training the brain to be present. It is a secular practice, which involves paying attention to what is happening as it happens and doing so with an attitude of kindness, acceptance, and non-judgment.
How do you practice Mindfulness?
In essence, mindfulness is very simple, but when an individual begins practicing it for the first time, it can seem very challenging. Our minds are used to racing around jumping from thought to thought. Often lost in regrets about the past or worries about the future, rarely are we awake to the present moment. With mindfulness, we can change this.
In order to train the mind, students begin by focusing their attention on one object, most often their own breath. Naturally, the mind will wander, becoming distracted by thoughts, sounds, and emotions etc. The practice initially involves bringing our attention back to the present moment again and again. Gradually, the mind will become quieter and students will be able to maintain present-moment awareness for longer periods of time.
What are the benefits of Mindfulness?
Research indicates that brain training involving mindfulness practices can strengthen areas of the brain responsible for attention, emotional control, and problem-solving.
- Improves listening skills, attention, concentration, and focus
- Builds resilience
- Reduces reactivity to emotions such as anxiety, fear, and anger
- Fosters a growth mindset
- Enhances social skills, such as empathy and compassion leading to improved social relations
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