Friday, February 27, 2015

Mindfulness Strategies to Reduce Anxiety, Depression & Promote Well-Being


Every day I do Mindfulness Meditation with my class. I started off mindfulness with my class by exposing them to audio tracks (see my resources page). After my students got comfortable with being aware and present, we moved gradually into them being the leaders in their own visualizations and experiences by mediating to relaxing music or sounds (e.g. nature).

To complement the work being done in our individual classrooms, our School Climate Team decided to invite a guest speaker into HBPS to do an interactive assembly with students from grades 4-8 : Sarah Kinsely,OCT, M.Ed., a senior facilitator at Mindfulness Without Borders, experienced educator and child and family therapist, also provided an evening workshop to interested parents! For our student assembly, Sarah led our students through many awesome and simple strategies that really anyone can do when they are starting to feel anxious, stressed or upset. 


Strategies:


*The first rule to mindfulness is to be present in the moment, not thinking about the past or the future. Mindfulness can also involve focus on the breath. This keeps one present in the moment. 


*Take 5 is a short breathing exercise where you are taking your hand and tracing the outside and inside inhaling on the rise of the fingers and exhaling on the fall of the fingers for 5 complete times and at your own pace. 


*Yoga is great exercise and certainly can promote well being. One of the most basic standing poses is called: Mountain Pose. This is where you stand with your legs shoulder width apart and your hands extended down by your sides with palms facing outwards. This stance can help develop better posture and allows breath to fall easily in and out of your body without being constricted.


*One way to "awaken the body'' is when Sarah suggested that we tap with our hand the external outside peripheral of your body. 


*Strentching your joints and muscles feels great when you rotate ankles and wrists and so on and so forth in circular clockwise and counter clockwise motions.


*Gratitude is a cognitive activity that actually has one of the strongest links in reducing stress, anxiety and depression and increasing well-being. Being thankful is something that we can easily try to do each and everyday until it becomes a habbit.


*Self-massage can really help relieve muscle tension in the face and shoulders. Try rubbing your hands together until you feel warmth between them and rest your hands on the area in need of some TLC. We placed our hand on our eyes and it really felt nice!


*Tensing our muscles and letting the tension go with a "ha" really helped us take longer deeper breathes and let go of it all!


*Rolling down can help re-align ones body and create more circulation.


*Shutting our lid was an expression that Sarah used as an example of when we have so many things on our mind it feels like your brain is firing open and that it is important to "shut it" before we explode.


Try some of these basic things out and post how you feel afterwards!


Thanks for reading! :)


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