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Ways to practice mindfulness
August 22, 2022

Illustration by Sanvi

By Gotwals Healthy Press staff | Mindfulness is a way to take time to focus and pay attention to what you are doing, according to KidsHealth.org.

“Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking,” according to the KidsHealth article, What is Mindfulness? “When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time.”

If you practice it every day, you will get better at it, the website says. You have to train your mind to slow down and notice what’s going on around you.

“If you practice mindfulness exercises, being mindful can come naturally when you need it in your everyday life,” according to KidsHealth. “This can help when you’re stressed, when you have to do something difficult, or when you have to focus your attention.”

Mindfulness has many benefits. For instance, it can help you calm down when you are upset, be less distracted, listen better, and get along with others better, according to KidsHealth.

The Healthy Press reporters followed KidsHealth’s suggestions for getting started. Here are the steps:

  1. Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position.
  2. Focus your attention on your breathing.
  3. Close your eyes and breathe in and out normally and notice your breaths.
  4. Take notice of your mind. When it wanders off to other thoughts, gently remind yourself to pay attention to your breathing. It is normal that your mind will wander, according to mindfulness experts.

KidsHealth also offered a few exercises to practice mindfulness: eating, walking, breathing, and thinking about a word.

* * * *

The Healthy Pressreporters tried mindful walking. They also watched a YouTube video to practice mindful walking. (Check out the video: tinyurl.com/GWalking).

Mindful walking can be done slowly. Take a step forward in slow motion. Notice how you keep your balance when you walk. Continue to walk in slow motion and notice your body. Ask yourself: “How do my legs move? What are my knees and arms doing?” As you walk, breathe in and out and keep your attention on walking slowly as you relax and breathe.

After she did this exercise, Kimberly said she felt calm. “I think it is better to do this exercise outside in nature.”

Christian also said he felt more relaxed. However, he said, it was also a challenge to do “because there are a lot of distractions while doing it in my classroom. I would rather do this by myself and outside.”

Tabitha said she “felt peaceful and sleepy” after the mindful walk. “I think it is better to do it with a friend walking along with you.” 

Nate said the exercise was easy and it made him feel calm. His suggestion: “I think mindful walking should be done outdoors and with a friend.” 

After doing this exercise, Dayana said she felt calmer than when she started “but my mind kept going to something else. I kept having to remind myself to focus on walking. I recommend doing this exercise outside versus inside. Also try it by yourself rather than with a friend.” 

* * * *

The Healthy Press staff then tried a mindful word exercise. KidsHealth suggests that you pick a soothing word such as “peace,” “love,” “sunlight,” or “snowflake.” 

When you have a word chosen, say the word over softly in your head while you sit in a comfortable position. Say your word to yourself as you breathe in and out. Keep your attention on the word. If you mind wanders, remind yourself to focus on the word. 

“After I did this exercise, I felt distracted in the classroom with other kids around,” Sherlyn said. “So I would do it in a room by myself. I tried it for five minutes and it was a long time to stay focused. I did feel calm, though.” 

Alexia also said she would prefer to do this exercise in a quiet room by herself “I chose the word ‘ocean’ because I like thinking about it,” she said. 

Sanvi said five minutes was a “little too long” for this exercise. “I recommend doing this exercise by yourself rather than with other people around you to take away the distraction.” —By Healthy Press staff 

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.

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