Mindfulness means intentionally paying attention to the present moment experience inside yourself, your mind and body, and your environment with an attitude of openness, curiosity, kindness, and care.
Mindfulness is not about clearing all thoughts from your mind, learning how to escape difficult moments, or just relaxing and being calm - although those can be products of a mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness is a practice that has been a part of many religious and spiritual traditions from both East and West dating back thousands of years, and many scientific trials have shown the positive impact Mindfulness can have in your life: stress-reduction, decrease in job burnout, less anxiety and emotional reactivity, improvement of mood and better sleep, clarity, calm, open-mindedness, and compassion.
The best news? Everyone has the capacity to be mindful! Don’t have time to be mindful, you say? You only need a couple of minutes to practice, and once it becomes a habit, you can do it during your daily activities.
Care of the Whole Person
One of the core values of a Brebeuf Jesuit education is cura personalis, or care of the whole person. As a natural extension of this holistic approach to education, we began offering elective DBT Mindfulness 1 and 2 courses to our students five years ago. These courses teach students stress reduction, emotional regulation, compassion, responsibility, and awareness - skills that are integral to a balanced life both in- and outside of the classroom.
As Brebeuf Jesuit affirms the importance of helping students navigate the increasing demands of high school and beyond, Michelle Martin’s role as French and Mindfulness teacher will expand to integrate mindfulness into all corners of school life. We know from scientific studies that mindfulness practices can positively impact athletics, the arts, and classroom instruction, while also supporting conflict resolution, relationship-building, and action for social justice
About Michelle Martin
Michelle’s credentials include a 200-hour certification by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Teens, Mindfulness for Student Athletes, and Positive Neuroplasticity Training. She is also currently completing certification for Trauma-Informed Mindfulness for Schools.
A Mindfulness Exercise to Try
Every day, find time to sit quietly, and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Count to 3 or 4. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth to the same count. As you blow air out, purse your lips slightly but keep your jaw relaxed. You may hear a soft “whooshing” sound as you exhale. Repeat.
Do your best to focus on how the breath feels as you inhale and exhale. Where do you feel the air? Is it cool or warm? Sit in awareness without the judgment of, Am I doing this correctly? Yes, you are.
Note: If you experience an increase in anxiety or panic while doing this exercise, we might want to find an alternative exercise for you.