“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well.” These famous words, by Thich Nhat Hanh, encompass one of the most important effects of mindfulness. The Vietnamese Monk hailed as the father of Mindfulness explains the effects of practicing mindfulness. In his famous example of the lettuce, Hanh explains how focusing on the environment, and not trying to blame, yields healthy and wholesome growth.
Mindfulness Day is a rising annual event, celebrated on September 12th, on which day a range of meditation groups and workshops are held to educate the public about the tremendous significance and benefits of mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to observe without bias. It is the mind’s capacity for objective observation. This talent allows one to view situations objectively. Similar to a scientist viewing an object under a microscope with no preconceived ideas and only wanting to perceive it for what it is, the meditator examines events in much the same way. Similar to how the meditator observes changeability, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness. Since the 1970s, clinical psychology and psychiatry have developed several mindfulness-based therapy applications to assist patients with a wide range of psychological problems. Mindfulness practice has been used to treat drug addiction as well as depression, stress, and anxiety. Research studies have established a favorable association between trait mindfulness and psychological health. Clinical investigations have documented the benefits of mindfulness for both physical and mental health in various patient categories as well as in healthy adults and children. One can learn mindfulness through training, such as meditation.
In a student’s life, taking care of their mental and physical health should be the utmost priority of students themselves and the adults around them. A healthy physical and mental growth directly affects the natural capacity of the student to grow in all domains of life.
Learning mindfulness, which is described by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” can have a variety of positive effects, including lowering stress and anxiety levels, improving focus and self-regulation, improving academic performance, and improving sleep, among others. According to a Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence assessment of 22,000 high school students, pupils reported experiencing negative emotions like tension, weariness, and boredom 75% of the time on average. The need for a stress reliever has never been greater. Schools frequently hire instructors from outside the school to give mindfulness lessons if a classroom teacher is unable to do so. However, using this methodology, long-term mindfulness programs in the classroom can be challenging to keep up with. According to Trish Broderick, PhD, inventor of the Learning to Breathe program and research associate at the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State University, “Programs can operate with an outside person insofar as they can train teachers to keep it up.” The benefit of implementing a mindfulness program is that it may be effectively repeated by teachers or other school workers who have a rapport with the students.
Here are some ideas for how you can celebrate Mindfulness Day on September 12th:
- Set aside some time each day to unplug and meditate; even if it’s just for a short period of time, taking deep breaths and acknowledging and letting go of your thoughts will help you relax both your body and mind.
- Attend a class in yoga or meditation.
- Hold a meditation or mindfulness flash mob in your neighbourhood.
- Organize a “mindfulness party” when you sit in solitude for meditation, prayer, or contemplation with your neighbours.
- Go to a retreat.
- With your spiritual group, conduct a special prayer or meditation circle.