Mindfulness at homes and in schools in times of uncertainty
Autumn is now appearing to us with all its nuances, even more than before. It´s not only uncertainty about how the weather will be like this autumn also how the conditions in our society will be like. Who would have imagined a few months ago that we were facing such a changed worldview? Now more than ever, our adaptability and resourcefulness, tolerance and balance are being tested.
Nurture our relationships
We, humans, are social beings and now we are not able to communicate like we are used to. In a situation like this, however, it is important to nurture our relationships and be present for each other as much as possible. In order for us to be present for others, it is important to be connected to ourselves, mindfulness training can help us.
Present consciousness includes awareness of what is happening within us and in the environment as well as being alert to our reactions. We strive to meet life with an open mind and curiosity. Present consciousness includes awareness of that everything changes, our well-being, the society and nature. With an awareness attitude, we increase our tolerance, serenity and resilience, and promote balance and well-being.
Present in the moment
Mindfulness training does not have to be complicated. On one hand, you can listen to guided meditation exercises where we pay attention to thoughts, feelings and bodies. On the other hand, we can train present consciousness by activating our senses in our daily life, being present in the moment and aware of what we are experiencing while we experience it. When we communicate in the present consciousness, we pay full attention to it and sincerely listen. Every day, every moment are opportunities to focus on the present. Even just noticing a little smile, a twinkle in the eye or touch can bring us to the present. It helps us to disable our self-control, reduce speed and stress.
We have a choice
Part of being a human is experiencing a variety of emotions. In times of uncertainty, it is natural for us to be worried, experience anxiety and other challenging emotions. However, it is important for us to be aware of that it is our choice how we respond to these emotions. Do we get stuck in these emotions and overthink them? Or can we meet them with kindness and understanding “it is natural to feel these emotions” and then consciously move our attention to where we want it to be? There are so many things we cannot change, but what we can do is consciously choose our response, that involves empowerment. Let’s not forget that everything passes by and changes, also Covid-19.
Present consciousness for all
Everyone can train in mindfulness and as adults, we can help the younger ones, both at home and in school. We promote balance and well-being by being aware of seizing the opportunity to experience the moment when we realize we are spiritually absent. It is important to discuss this with children and youth and create conditions for them to nurture their present consciousness. Everyday activities are valuable opportunities for us to train being present by tuning in to our senses and experiences. A short moment where we sit together and monitor our breath, look around or ask ourselves the question “how do I feel?! This is how we connect to life and experience while it is happening.
Tips for home and school – for children and adults
- Create a little space – Connect to the breath or other anchor for one minute (or longer or shorter time) regularly throughout the day.
- Adjust your senses regularly, listen, watch, touch, taste and smell.
- Try guided meditation e.g. on the uprightprogram.eu or try some of the free applications available online.
- Have the intention to be present in communication with you and others.
- Use every opportunity to see the positive and smile – a smile increases well-being.
- Notice the small moments, they are your life.
Author: Bryndís Jóna Jónsdóttir, University of Iceland
This article was first published in the journal of Home and School – national parents association in Iceland, 2020.