Nurse's Notes: Mindfulness

January 27, 2017-- In keeping with the mindfulness training that our students participated in last week, I wanted to offer some simple meditation techniques for students here...  Tip: they work for parents too!

Meditation is a way to get quiet, calm, and focused. It trains your mind to slow down, relax, and stay positive. Meditating for just a few minutes a day can help you feel centered, balanced, and more in control — even during the times when you're not actually meditating.

Making meditation one of your daily routines (like brushing your teeth) can help you feel more grounded when it seems like you're being pulled in a million directions.


Here are some meditation exercises to try:


Focus on the Breath

Try this as soon as you get home from school:

  • Close your door, set a timer for 3-5 minutes, and find a comfortable place to sit.

  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.

  • As you inhale, think about your lungs inflating, your ribs expanding, and the breath moving through your nasal passages.

  • As you exhale, think about your lungs deflating and the breath rushing out of your nasal passages.

  • If your mind starts to wander, calmly say to yourself "thinking" and then turn your attention back to your breath.

Visualize Success

This is a great thing to do when you feel stressed about something that's coming up like a big test, sports game, or performance:

  • Set a timer for 3-5 minutes. Find a comfortable place to sit.

  • Close your eyes and picture things going well.

  • Visualize yourself feeling prepared and in control as you sit down for your test, or kicking the winning goal in soccer, or landing the lead role at your drama audition.

Visualization doesn't take the place of actual preparation. But it can help you feel confident and manage the negative thinking that sometimes goes with stress.

Paying attention to how you are breathing can help you notice how you're feeling — it can give you a clue that you're stressed even when you don't realize it. So start by noticing how you're breathing, then focus on slowing down and breathing more deeply.

Try practicing these breathing exercises:


Belly Breathing

Belly breathing allows you to focus on filling your lungs fully. It's a great way to counteract shallow, stressed-out breathing:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with one hand on your belly.

  • With your mouth closed and your jaw relaxed, inhale through your nose. As you inhale, allow your belly to expand. Imagine the lower part of your lungs filling up first, then the rest of your lungs inflating.

  • As you slowly exhale, imagine the air emptying from your lungs, and allow the belly to flatten.

  • Do this 3-5 times.

This kind of breathing can help settle your nerves before a big test, sports game, or even before bed.

These breathing and meditation techniques can have subtle but powerful effects. If you keep practicing them, the benefits will build up into real results. This might happen so gradually that you don't notice it. But you'll know that a positive change is at work when you don't lose your cool during a fight with your parents or go into a stress meltdown before a big exam!

For more information visit: http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/meditation.html?ref=search#

Here's to a peaceful weekend,

Nurse Jen

The International School of Dakar

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