Mindfulness Update

Good Morning PAPA!  It’s November and in honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up, and in keeping with our Mindfulness Theme, this month we will be creating a Gratitude Graffiti Project in the NE hallway between Mr. Taylor and Mr. Ocken’s room.  The Gratitude Graffiti Project is a daily practice of purposeful appreciation of one’s life through interactive art.  If art is an expression of the self, what would gratitude look like?  Students are encouraged to take a blank sticky note off the wall and do three things:  1) Think about what you are grateful for today,  then 2) In your mind consider, what would that look like?  What does it feel like?  What would it look like portrayed through art?  3) Demonstrate those feelings of gratitude in a mindful way-through words, images, or even origami, with your sticky note!  It can be done in many ways, as long as your focus remains on the task at hand and is done purposefully, with full attention.  Then add your creation to the wall!  We’ll post our wall on our Facebook page at the end of the month.  Learn more about the Gratitude Graffiti Project at https://thegratitudegraffitiproject.com/

Good Morning Everyone-It’s Mindfulness Monday!  Using our BREATH acronym we are focused this week on our final theme: H which stands for Habits.  Practicing healthy mind habits can help us reduce stress and increase inner strength.  Over the course of the last five themes, we’ve been learning to pay attention in a new way.  I hope you have taken the opportunity to check out the guided meditations, work book and videos available on our website.  By practicing mindfulness, we’ve been training our attention to see what’s happening right now in our bodies, in our thoughts, and in our feelings.  We’ve learned that we have some mindless habits, both in what we do and how we think about things.  The news is that we can shed the light of mindfulness on our lives, use the breath as an anchor, and approach every moment with more ease and less judgement.  We’ve talked about practicing new mental habits.  You might have noticed that you have tendencies in your mind and heart, perhaps toward chronic worry, anger, jealousy, and so on.  You can view these tendencies as unhelpful mind habits.  These habits or patterns can be changed.  We can choose to be mindful-to be more aware and empowered.  The video link “How Mindfulness Empowers Us” is a good illustration of this principal-you can find the link on our website.  We have learned that the strongest place to operate from is “right here” in this very moment.  I want to encourage all of you to take some time each day to center yourself in the moment.  If you haven’t already done so-check out the 7 day Simple Habit Starter or challenge yourself further with the 31 day Fresh Start.  Both programs are free at www.simplehabit.com.  Have a lovely week everyone!

(How Mindfulness Empowers Us)


It’s Mindfulness Monday!  Using our BREATH acronym, this week we are focusing on T for Tenderness.  We can not only reduce distress by learning to be mindful, but also train our attention and practice healthy habits of mind, such as kindness and compassion, to improve inner strength.  Since kindness can be practiced, it is important to understand that its opposite attitude, meanness, can also be practiced. In fact, meanness is practiced quite a lot.  We aim it at others, we aim it at ourselves.  This meanness is a habit of thinking and feeling that arises often and is felt deeply in the body.  Here is some good news.  We know from scientific studies that it’s possible to change the brain through mental training like the mindfulness practices we’ve been learning.  We’ve learned how to bring ourselves back to feeling more balanced when we’re stressed by letting go of thoughts and feelings that are not helpful.  We can also do something more.  We can actually practice making our minds healthier and more compassionate in the first place.  The fact is we can change our habits of mind and heart with practice, and this practice can give us an inner edge.  We can practice habits of tenderness or self-compassion so that we learn to take ourselves and others as we are and as they are, without judgement.  This is a good message to remember during the month of October which is also bullying prevention month.  Let’s not bully ourselves with mean thoughts, or others with mean words and actions. You can find this week’s guided meditation on kindness on our website. I hope you will check it out. And I hope you will check out Midweek Mindfulness this Wednesday during both lunches under the sycamore tree in from of Ms. Allen’s room or in room 4A.  Have a lovely week, everyone.

An update from Ms. Padilla on Mindfulness at PAPA:  By this week every student enrolled in a math class has participated in a 50 minute Mindfulness workshop where they were introduced to mindfulness and its benefits.  Those students also participated in 5 sessions of mindfulness meditation beginning with PAPAfest and continuing over the month of September.  I am posting a link to “Meditation 101” to give you an idea of what we have been talking about and experiencing, and the benefits of mindfulness for Everymind!  I am grateful to all the math teachers who hosted the workshop and meditation sessions in their classrooms, and to all the students who greeted my presence with a show of support for mindfulness!  Thank you.  We will be taking a slightly different format in October.  Rather than guided meditations in math class, we will have “Mindfulness Mondays.”  During the announcements every Monday in October I will be sharing tips for cultivating present moment awareness, and posting resources that students (and their families, too!) can access to practice or to learn more.   Our first installment is included at the link below, “How Mindfulness Empowers Us”.   We will also begin Midweek Mindfulness on Wednesdays during both lunches.  Students are encouraged to have their lunch and then join Ms. Baca in room 4A or, weather permitting, under the sycamore tree in front of Ms. Allen’s room for a mindfulness meditation through origami paper folding.  Anyone who attends midweek mindfulness will be entered in a drawing to win the “Grati-tools” basket which will be on display in the front office. It contains all the tools you need to get started with your personal mindfulness practice.  You can also enter by posting something positive about mindfulness on our Facebook page.  As always, I welcome your questions and feedback about Mindfulness-you can email me at lpadilla@paparts.org.  And I would like to say thank you to the entire PAPA community for your continued support and commitment to student development and overall health and well being!

Using our BREATH acronym, we are focused this week on A for Attention.  Paying attention to how the body feels, what we think, and what emotions we experience prevents the buildup of problems that can harm the body and the mind.  Stress can come from both internal and external events.  When we pay attention to these events as they are occurring, we can maintain greater balance, make more conscious decisions about how to respond, and take more control of our stressors because we can see some of them coming.  This is an important component of self-regulation. The first step in stress management is becoming aware of the stress.  What are the signs that you might be experiencing stress?  Pay attention to your body, your thoughts, and your emotions.  These messages function as an interconnected warning system.  If we pay attention to one part, we can affect the whole.  This week I challenge each of you to the 7 Day Simple Habit Starter.  You can find this program for free at simplehabit.com or at iTunes or GooglePlay.  Here you will find seven daily guided meditations to help you tune your attention.  I am also uploading a student workbook called My Mindfulness Workbook to the website that you can access to plot your progress in your practice.  And don’t forget Midweek Mindfulness this Wednesday, and every Wednesday in October during both lunches in room 4A or under the sycamore tree in front of Ms. Allen’s room (Rm 3).  Last week we had 14 MS students participate and they were all entered in the drawing for the “Grati-tools” Mindfulness Basket, on display in the front office.  We hope to see some HS students this week-mindfulness is for “everymind”.  Have a lovely week everyone!


My Mindfulness Workbook