Asking what mindfulness is can be like asking, “How does it feel to lay the first tracks on a pow-day?”
The definition will be real and personal only for that lucky person who went skiing, and the description will only give a small glimpse into the experience.
Just reading about mindfulness, without practicing being mindful, is like reading about skiing instead of actually skiing and hoping to become an excellent skier.
So, take a moment and STOP.
Stop what you are doing.
Take a breath – take another breath – take another Breath.
Observe what is present in your body, your feelings, your thoughts.
Proceed with intention and choice.
There it is – the beginning of practicing mindfulness.
With self-compassion, learn to pay attention to what is in the present moment – physical sensations, emotions, thought processes – without getting caught up in them.
Mindfulness is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and has gained popularity bringing it into the mainstream.
There are two types of mindfulness practice: formal (periods of sitting, walking, mindful body scan, and mindful movement) and informal practice like being mindful in everyday life (driving, walking, brushing your teeth).
Mindfulness has many benefits: improved mood, better decision-making skills and reduced anxiety.
Mindfulness improves concentration as it teaches students to boost learning retention and memory recall.
Mindfulness improves stress management skills as students learn how to calm themselves and become more aware of their automatic reactions.
Mindfulness supports healthy communication skills as students become active listeners and become more present in conversation.
Mindfulness increases creativity, improves relationships, and helps students maintain composure in challenging situations.
Students are better able to focus and reduce mind-wandering.
Mindfulness builds resilience and increases physical health and keeps young adults connected as the practice brings people together.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Mindfulness after all is not a cure. It will not protect students from the panic and dread that can accompany an uncertain world.
However, the practices do allow students to move through uncertain times with more awareness, compassion, kindness, composure, openness and generosity of spirit.
Collectively, this awareness will pave the way for smarter choices, happier adolescents, and better-prepared community members.
“We are always looking for ways to foster development of the whole person at Seven Summits. The opportunity to provide teen-oriented mindfulness training aligns perfectly with this value,” said Tanis Shippy, the centre administrator.
“It is difficult at the best of times to be a teenager without adding the uncertainty of a pandemic, environmental issues, and a 24/7 digital presence.”
Therefore, Seven Summits is offering an eight session mindfulness program, led by Michelle Daoust, a local clinical counsellor with 25 years of experience.
“The program explores a variety of mindfulness practices that will help the students understand the role they play in their own health and well-being, and will assist them in creating their own individualized mindfulness practice,” said Daoust. “Learning how to move from ‘reacting’ to ‘responding’ and learning to become more curious and open to new ideas are powerful skills we will practice together.”
The topics included in the eight sessions are specific to the adolescent age group. Lessons include Introduction to Mindfulness; Mindful Movement; Mindful Eating; Responding and Communicating; Thought Watching and Unkind Mind; Body Scan Meditation; Responding and Reacting; Taming Digital Distractions; and the Art of Stress.
Michelle has many years of experience creating safe, joyful, and meaningful spaces for young adults.
She was born and raised in Rossland, making it possible for her to explain how fresh tracks on a Pow-Day feels.