Mindful Minute

Mindful Minute – Mindful Listening:

Introduce mindfulness as “paying attention to what is happening right now”. Explain that when we get good at paying attention on purpose, we can use this mental strength to help us regulate. It can also be a good “reset” strategy when we need to refocus or start again.

Ask if any students are already familiar with mindful activities. Invite them to share the mindfulness activities that they have tried.

You will likely find some students who have enjoyed mindful activities, and others who find they don’t make a difference. Let them know that this is normal and that we are going to experiment with different types of mindfulness and that hopefully one of them will be useful. If not, it is possible that it may be a tool that they use later in life as a teen or an adult. Ask them to keep an open mind and treat it like a science experiment.

“Today let’s try some ‘Mindful Listening’.”

*I usually start with Mindful Listening because it is easy and it sets up mindful activities to include what is going on around them as part of their mindful practice instead of an interruption.

**Please be sensitive to the fact that not all students feel comfortable participating in mindfulness activities. See “A Word About Mindfulness” below.

“To begin, please…

  • Rest your hands on your lap if you are in a chair, and make sure your feet are resting on the floor.
  • Lean into the back of your chair and relax.
  • Take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
  • Close your eyes if you like or look down at your lap.
  • When you hear the chime, listen to its sound.
  • Open your eyes and look up when you no longer hear it.
  • Stay silent until everyone has finished listening.”

(If you don’t have a chime, encourage the students to listen to the sounds around them until you ask them to open their eyes.)

Ask students to share some of the sounds they heard besides the chime. Accept their observations in the context of a science experiment.

Repeat the Mindful Listening activity one more time. Thirty seconds or one minute at the longest for students who are unfamiliar with mindful activities. (You can “stretch” this skill later. Make it easily achievable at the beginning.)

Ask students to share some of the sounds they heard this time.

 A Word About Mindfulness   Some students feel uncomfortable participating in mindfulness activities, particularly those who have experienced trauma. Others feel vulnerable when they close their eyes. If they have difficulty participating, give them the option to just stay in the room and wait quietly until the activity is finished. If they cannot do this quietly you may have to adapt your plan. For example, maybe they could draw, colour, or go for a walk at this time. Or the whole class could try mindful walking instead. (See video example links below.)   Students who are looking around may need a gentle reminder to look down at their laps or close their eyes if they are comfortable doing so. If needed, prompt them without talking, but don’t insist. It often takes a few sessions before students start to get into the routine and find it easier to manage themselves. Try to keep the experience positive. Keep it short if the students find it challenging.