Mindful Mondays: Teaching Mindfulness to Teens

Students in the Fox Cities area are getting a “Jump Start” to their school week by participating in Mindful Monday.  Jump Start is a program at Kaukauna High School that allows students to start the day with a breakfast and beverage while enjoying connections with other students and staff through discussion-based activities.  Jump Start supports students by offering academic and emotional support while monitoring student progress in all classes to foster academic success.

This morning, I had the honor of joining the Jump Start students and staff for Mindful Monday.  Together, we learned what mindfulness is (and is not) and had the opportunity to practice several forms of mindfulness as a group, including deep breathing, meditation, and gratitude journaling.  Empowered by the meditation session, students said the practice left them “relaxed” and “feeling good.” 

The students were surprised to learn that another form of mindfulness can simply be the act of gratitude or focusing on what you are thankful for in your life … right now in this moment.  During the presentation, students had time to reflect on three things in their they are grateful for.   Their responses ranged from “coffee” and “food” to “family” and “friends.”   But in the end, the students agreed that they have lots in their life to be thankful for when they take a moment and reflect on all that is good in their lives. 

As the presentation came to a close, I gave the students a challenge:  How can you integrate mindfulness in your daily life?   The students were reminded that mindfulness can be as simple as the act of breathing deeply.  In the words of Eckhart Tolle, “One conscious breath – in and out – is a meditation.” 

How can you integrate mindfulness into your day?  What can you do to be more present in your daily life?   If you want to truly change your life, you must first change your mind.  And mindfulness provides the daily framework to transform yourself, one breath at a time.