A framework for better living
What we teach is very simple: daily practices that help build one’s awareness and concentration.
However, these skills are part of a much deeper, more comprehensive framework that addresses our needs as a whole person and can help us achieve greater clarity, direction, and balance in all aspects of our lives, not just mental functioning.
Below are seven main areas of life where we help students, teachers, and parents engage in active self-inquiry and actually apply mindfulness skills.
How we teach practices of awareness and concentration:
There are countless ways to develop one’s skills for awareness and concentration and numerous well-developed curricula available on the market. We teach the following programs.
Program Types – Our mindfulness programs run in the following formats:
- High-Middle School – 8-10 week modules, offered 1x/week, with 30-45 mins per lesson
- Elementary School – 8 week (16 lesson) module, offered 2x/week, with 20 mins per lesson
- Educators/Parents – Workshops are offered in 60, 90 min, 2 or 3 hour formats, and are taught in a variety of lengths throughout the school year to best serve the needs of each school community.
Curriculum – To teach these practices, Minds, Inc. has built its own Teen and Elementary mindfulness curricula, drawing on the most well-researched and relevant mindfulness teaching resources nationally to create customized programs that fit the needs of the individuals or organizations with whom we work. The following areas are all covered:
- Mindfulness of Breath – Three different types of breathing are taught as anchors to help settle, focus, and balance the mind and body. Connecting with the breath allows students to access the nervous system’s relaxation response, and to alleviate the stress from fight-flight-freeze reactivity.
- Mindfulness of the Body, Movement, and Posture – We teach awareness of physical sensations of the body in order to help students center and focus, release tension and stress, and to glean greater insight into levels of fatigue, hunger and where stress manifests. The importance of how we sit and stand throughout the day is emphasized, as posture deeply impacts our emotions. Mindfulness of Body is taught through formal sitting mindfulness practice, as well as through Mindful Movement, walking, and sometimes even dance.
- Mindfulness of Emotions – Improving emotional regulation, and how to respond well during emotionally difficult situations, starts with awareness of our mind. We teach students to notice, label, and be curious about their emotional states, as well as where emotions manifest in the body. This builds resiliency and offers tools to lower stress chemicals when they are sent through the body.
- Mindfulness of Thoughts – A great deal of stress is derived from our thoughts about a situation, or the mind over-analyzing or replaying events in the past and future. We teach students to have awareness of our natural thinking mind, learning to recognize, accept, and be curious about where our minds naturally go. These skills lead to greater self acceptance, empowerment, and how to refocus when the minds activity is not serving us.
- Mindfulness of Sound and Senses – Training students to have a greater awareness and deeper perspective of the environment around them. This means tuning into the sounds, sights, smells and tastes around us, along with our peers, which all have a deep impact on our nervous system and levels of calm and stress. We teache students that any potential distraction of sound or sight can actually be used as a way to focus, and return to the present.
- Mindfulness of Compassion, Listening, and Communicating – Students and Educators are often in schools of over 2,000 students. We believe it’s essential to train students and adults alike for how to best navigate these busy environments with so many people, and teach mindfulness and social emotional learning skills to help people relate to their peers with greater kindness and empathy, which are now scientifically validated as trainable. We teach mindfulness to help people communicate more in a more empowered, safe, and inclusive way, and start with teaching self-compassion, so students and educators can learn simple tools for self-care.
- Neuroscience – When students and adults have a greater understanding about how their brain and nervous system works, the likelihood increases that they will use the skills and tools of mindfulness when difficulty or stress arises. We teach:
- How stress and anxiety are manifested in the brain and body
- Neuroplasticity of the brain
- Negativity bias and common patterns of thoughts and emotions
- Accessing the relaxation response, and the positive benefits of mindfulness in our brain