Mindfulness (def.): Present moment awareness with an openness to being with what is.
Mindfulness is the practice of present moment awareness. By practicing mindfulness, we are training our brains to pay more attention to what is going on in the present, instead of worrying about the past or the future. Research is showing that practicing mindfulness increases focus, creativity, productivity, emotional regulation, and overall physical and mental well-being. At the same time, there is evidence that mindfulness decreases depression, anxiety, stress, and impulsiveness.
How do you practice Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be practiced both formally and informally. Formal practice might include sitting still and focusing on the breath for a set amount of time or engaging in a "loving kindness" practice. Informal practice is choosing to be more mindful when walking from our desk to the copier, or from class to class. Another way is to give yourself a reminder to be more aware of what is going on in the present moment by choosing a "mindful activity" for the week: brushing your teeth, driving in the car, turning on/off a light.
Mindfulness for kids
We live in a hyper connected world where kids are constantly stimulated. As it turns out, constant stimulation is not the best for the developing brain. Mindfulness helps kids tap into the part of the brain in charge of focus, attention, creativity, and empathy. Several studies show that mindfulness can help kids develop important cognitive skills and make them more compassionate towards others.