Mindfulness is often thought of as meditation and sitting still that requires time and dedication. Sitting still with our eyes closed may feel overwhelming, especially for students with trauma or anxiety. However, it is a lot more than that. Mindfulness is the act of being in the present moment and letting go of thoughts about yesterday or what will happen tomorrow. Trauma-informed practices with mindfulness involve creating a sense of safety for students, so they can freely practice the activities.
Students can practice mindfulness without closing their eyes or forcing themselves to sit still. This is very important for students who need the added sense of safety. Give students the option to keep their eyes open or closed during your mindful breathing activities. You can also do different focus activities. Guide your students to be in the present moment with mindfulness activities such as nature walks where they are focused on the presence of finding different elements of nature. Ask students to take a minute to notice everything the color red in their surroundings. Guiding students through the five senses in a mindful breathing activity is an exemplary way to show students how they can practice breathing and be in the present moment without the pressures of meditative stillness. Try this activity with students: