How to Practice Mindfulness
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According to 4-H research, 45% of teens have dealt with excessive stress, and 64% fear that the stress of living through COVID-19 will have long-term implications for their mental health,” 4-H.org wrote. While stress is a regular part of life, it can be difficult to cope with. Therefore, in honor of National Heart Month, Union County 4-H will provide you with some information about mindfulness and examples of how to be more mindful about your body and its stress.
Mindfulness is “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” – Jon Kabat Zinn (2003). Mindfulness, according to Mindful Mechanics, a curriculum created by University of California’s 4-H Program, is categorized in four different areas:
- Noticing/Awareness: being aware of yourself and what is around you. Exploring the world with all of your senses.
- Openness/Curiosity: being open to new experiences.
- Non-Judgment: experiencing life without thinking about it being good or bad.
- Acceptance: being content with the present moment.
Here are three examples of mindfulness:
- Body scans: paying attention to each part of your body and how it feels. First focusing on your head, noticing how it feels. Then, shoulders, knees, toes, and so on.
- Breathing exercises: monitoring breathing to focus and connect the mind and body. Imagine the lungs are a balloon, for each breath in pretend you are blowing up a balloon and then releasing it with each breath out.
- Walking meditation: taking slow, thoughtful steps to focus on connecting your movement and breath, as well as to the environment around you.
If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, visit National 4-H at 4-h.org and if you know of a teenager who could benefit from mindfulness, contact the local 4-H office at 704.283.3735 or 704.283.3740.