Mindfulness:  Being Aware and Present

By Jake Davis, School Counselor

In our busy lives here at Eastside Prep and at home, our minds and bodies can get wrapped up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle.  This can make it difficult to pause and slow down.  It is also easy to get stuck resting our minds on things in the past or the future, while forgetting to focus on the here and now.

Because the roots of stress lie deep in the nervous system, we need tools that go beyond the conceptual mind to directly target that system. To transform our typical responses, we need to regularly practice our skills when we are not in “fight/flight/freeze” mode.

The benefits of mindfulness for children and adults are plentiful, including decreased stress and increased resilience. While there are many ways to define mindfulness, it can be described simply as bringing our attention to our thoughts and feelings without judgement.

Students and faculty at EPS are practicing mindfulness in different ways:

  • Faculty and staff are beginning Program Development Days with various guided meditations.
  • Ms. Chalana has been supporting seniors, busy with the college preparation process, by starting class meetings with a quiet moment, a body scan, tension release, deep breathing techniques, and talking about how staying in the moment can help us cope with difficult feelings.
  • Dr. Russell and Ms. Lori planned a mindfulness-themed week for the sixth grade students.  Sixth grade students participated in guided meditations, visualizations and reflection activities.
  • Fifth grade students are learning different techniques/skills on how to calm down and ‘let go’ practices.  They have also practiced simple stretching movements along with breathing exercises, and body scan meditations.

If you are interested in learning more and/or incorporating some mindfulness practices at home, here are some resources:

Articles and videos: https://www.mindfulschools.org/category/video/

Apps: Calm & Mindshift