Mindfulness

At Christleton High School all staff and students have the opportunity to learn and develop skills of mindfulness. The ‘dot-be’ and ‘dot-be Foundations’ programmes developed for both students and adults, strongly support Christletons ‘Five C’s’ of Creativity, Caring, Commitment, Collaboration and Cheerfulness and help create a school culture that is both supportive and challenging.

Over forty members of staff have now voluntarily completed the eight-week ‘dot-be Foundations’ adult mindfulness programme which helps support our long term aims for the development of mindfulness at Christleton. In addition, training for students is on-going and all students will also have the opportunity to complete the ‘dot be’ programme during their time at Christleton.

From Year 8, students will have the opportunity to learn and practice mindfulness under the guidance of trained professionals within school. If students wish to develop their skills further, they also have opportunities to become ‘Mindfulness ambassadors’ and can go on to help support other students with their development. In Year 12, students will be offered the opportunity to develop their mindfulness practice further as one of their ‘360 options’.

The following information on mindfulness has been kindly provided by Misp web site to answer many of the commonly asked questions about mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment, with open-minded curiosity, kindness and acceptance. Rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen, it trains us to explore and respond skilfully to whatever is happening right now.

Brain imaging studies show that mindfulness practice alters the structure and function of the brain. These changes appear to be linked to improved concentration, mood regulation and ability to choose appropriate responses. They have also been connected to improved immune function.

What’s the point of mindfulness?

In adults, mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and wellbeing. People of all ages report after taking a mindfulness course that they have found they can learn more effectively, think more clearly, perform better and to feel calmer, less anxious and less depressed. Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy is now recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and GPs are referring adults on 8 week courses to reduce stress and help prevent recurrent depression. It is increasingly being used in business to improve staff wellbeing and satisfaction, in sports training to improve performance, and with children and young people and in schools to enhance wellbeing and learning.

How do people learn mindfulness?

Mindfulness is best learned in a highly practical way, through experience rather than talk. We gradually learn to direct our attention in a more focused and friendly way to whatever is actually happening - whether it be our breathing, the sensations in our body, thoughts and feelings, or everyday activities such as walking and eating.

Is it difficult?

At first the mind wanders constantly, but with practice we learn to sustain our attention and direct it more skilfully. This helps to break the hold of unhelpful habits of thinking and the impulse that can arise from these. With practice we can learn to notice and respond to all aspects of life with greater choice and care. But, as with all new skills, it does takes practice!

What mindfulness IS

For more information on mindfulness and the courses provided by Christleton High School, go to www.mindfulnessinschools.org