What does it mean to be mindful? Students at L.R. Tippens know. They are learning what it means to practice being mindful every day. With the help of Laurie Palmer, our school therapist, each morning’s announcements begin with students practicing thoughtfully being present. In a calm and soothing voice, Ms. Palmer goes over the directions for the day’s exercise. After first being asked to clear their minds and focus their breathing, with gentle reminders to be present without judgment, a simple exercise follows. The exercise could consist of observing a potato chip. They may be asked to feel the weight of the chip in their hands, to look it over and perhaps notice the texture. To taste it and question to themselves, what does it taste like? Is it salty? Not salty? These exercises allow students the opportunity to really be in the moment, to concentrate and observe themselves.
Mindful moments give students the opportunity to increase awareness of their own thoughts and feelings. Awareness can help identify and manage thoughts that might be difficult. It can reduce stress and improve concentration. Being mindful in the moment is a powerful tool for success, one that can extend far beyond a student’s educational years.