Our value of the month at METNS is Mindfulness. We focus on being present to ourselves, to one another and to the world around us.
Why Mindfulness Matters
Research shows that regular mindfulness practice brings many benefits, including greater life satisfaction, higher levels of emotional regulation, higher self-esteem, longer and healthier life, decreased anxiety, depression and irritability.
What is Mindfulness? ‘Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way – on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally’. (Jon Kabat-Zinn) Mindfulness practice may be described as a particular form of meditation.
Mindfulness and our School
We introduce mindfulness and meditation practices as part of the Learn Together Strand Unit ‘Cultivating Spiritual Growth’. The children are given a range of experiences from a menu of activities including mindful practice, meditation, yoga, being in nature and engagement with the arts. These are complimented by discussion and reflection on developing values such as empathy, kindness and gratitude.
In the Weaving Wellbeing Programme, mindfulness is introduced as one of the tools of resilience. The tool we use to teach children about mindfulness is called the Mindfulness Switch. The children learn that there are two levels of the mind. The term ‘Bee Level’ is used to describe the active, busy level of the mind, which is concerned with thinking and planning. ‘Flower Level’ is used to describe the ‘being’ level of the mind, with which mindfulness is associated. This level of the mind is described as sensing, non-judging and accepting. Children learn that at ‘Flower Level’ our attention is always in the here and now. Artists describe this experience of being present and fully absorbed in a task as ‘flow’. Children learn how to switch from ‘Bee Level’ to ‘Flower Level’, by concentrating on breathing and connecting to their bodies.
A value is a principle that guides your thinking and behaviour. How might a focus on mindfulness do this? As well as giving time to formal mindful practice such as meditation, mindfulness can be used informally throughout the day. This means simply bringing our attention to what we are doing in the present moment. Used in this way, the practice of mindfulness is a powerful tool, which can help us to centre ourselves and to remain calm and focused.
Make it your Goal this May to embrace Mindfulness
This month, decide to live in the moment. Try flicking the Mindfulness Switch to move more regularly from ‘Bee Level’ to ‘Flower Level’. Take time to appreciate the present moment and the May blossoms in all their glory!