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    enjoy the little things

     

     

    Mindful PracticeS

    3/24/20  Hello Soaring Eagles!  Distance Learning Week 2 is off to a great start!  Across grade levels, students have been enthusiastic about their learning and positive about all the things their teachers and parents have done to set them up for success. All your smiling faces are the best part of the day.  

    During times of difficultly, it is important to surround yourself with the people and things you love.  When we have flexibility in our day and opportunities to go out and about, it is easy to participate in the things we love to do.  Today, I challenge you to find all the "little things" you enjoy.  Use the tips and strategies here to get started with some mindful practices.  You will be surprised to see what a big difference a few minutes a day can make!

    E-mail me anytime and let me know how you are doing tkowalchick@cbsd.org

    I can't wait to hear about the things you are discovering and enjoying! 

    Mindfulness is a way of incorporating your observational skills and tapping into your awareness of your body and feelings. In other words, mindfulness means being aware of the present moment.  Just like any skill, mindfulness takes practice. Making a habit of using mindful strategies can help a lot.

    Benefits:

    Decrease stress and anxiety

    Increase focus and attention

    Learn better communication skills / build relationships

    Get better rest and sleep

     

    START TODAY!  Try these simple strategies to get started:

    Counting Sounds:  A Mindful Walking Practice 

    This activity combines mindful listening with gentle movement.   Practice it inside or outside.  You may be surprised at what you notice!

    The instructions for this mindfulness activity couldn’t be simpler: 

    With your parents' permission, go for a walk (inside or outside) and mentally focus on all the different sounds you hear.  

    It’s essential to turn off your electronics.  Try not to talk, although you can certainly smile and be friendly to anyone you happen to pass.  

    You’ll probably be surprised how many sounds you notice when you stop focusing on everything else.

    For example, here are the sounds you may notice:

    Footsteps: How do your footsteps sound on different surfaces?

    Animals:  Can you distinguish different animals?  Can you tell what the animal is doing by the sounds that you hear?

    People:  What sounds do you hear other people making?  What is being said?

    Sounds of your environment:  What does it sound like in your house or in your neighborhood?

    Nature:  Are there other sounds you notice?  Do you hear any rhythms?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

    Body Scan                                                                                                       

    The body scan is a key activity for mindfulness and an easy one to practice. 

    It will help you become more aware of your body and be more present in the moment.

    1.  Find a quiet space with room to stretch out

    2.  Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down and close your eyes    

    3.  Breathe in and out; think about your breathing

    4.  Notice how you feel 

    5.  Start at the top of your head and squeeze your muscles as tightly as you can and then relax; think about how that feels

    6.  Move down your body and tighten your muscles and relax; keep going until you get to your feet

                                                                                                                                                          body scan

    Video for 3 Minute Body Scan

    Video for 5 Minute Body Scan

     

    Your Color Hunt

    What you see depends on what you're looking for.

    Close your eyes, take a couple of breaths, and think about the color blue. Blue… blue… blue… Now open your eyes and look around. 

    What do you see?

    Was the first thing you noticed blue? Or, if there isn’t much blue around, did you notice a similar color, like gray or green?

    Try it again and focus on red this time. Close your eyes, take a couple of breaths, and think about the color red. Red… red… red… Now open your eyes.

    Probably everything around you that’s red will pop out at you. And if there isn’t much red in whatever space you’re sitting in right now, you likely noticed whatever colors are most similar to red. Perhaps orange, pink, or even brown.

    Try it a third time, with the color yellow. Yellow… yellow… yellow...

    What did you notice this time? Depending on what’s surrounding you right now, you probably noticed yellow or gold, or maybe cream or white or pale orange.

    Think about it.  Why do you think this happened?  Nothing’s changed in the space itself, but it looks different because we notice different things. 

    Practice this strategy to enhance your mood.  Your mood and focus affect what you see.  Practice the same strategy by choosing what to focus on.  Think about cheerful and calm things and then see what you notice in your surroundings.  See if you can turn a bad mood into something positive by shifting what you notice.

     

    Mindfulness is about paying attention, and it's also about

    choosing how to direct that attention.

    What you see depends on what you're looking for.