Mindfulness for a turbulent world: slowing down to move forward, a pillar of education at Coruña British International School
Immersed in a time of constant distraction, rushing and stress, mindfulness invites children, educators and parents to practice breathing and relaxation with one objective: to recover our capacity for mindfulness. Educating from within is an essential task, because this is how children internalise who they are and who they can become. A conscious and fulfilling education provides them with the opportunity to discover themselves in relation to others and to themselves. The practice of mindfulness helps us to stop, to connect with the present moment and to disconnect from the rush and fast pace of everyday life.
Mindfulness for the era of distractions
Fernando Tobías Moreno is a professor at the Pontifical University of Comillas and is part of the Mindfulness Research Team at the University’s Psychology Laboratory: “Most parents live increasingly stressed, scattered and with the feeling of not getting anywhere. And on many occasions, without intending to, we end up inoculating our children with the virus of haste. Today, inattention is a feature of our culture, as well as a disorder. In the age of distractions and overstimulation, it is perhaps more necessary than ever to learn to stop, to calm down and to focus attention on the present moment.
The good news is that we can train a skill called Mindfulness which involves paying attention to the here and now with an attitude of openness and non-judgement. The aim of mindfulness is to achieve a deep state of non-judgmental awareness of our sensations, feelings or thoughts, paying attention to what is going on inside us at any given moment. A philosophy of life that includes the practice of meditation, together with other relaxation techniques.
Relaxing the mind to cope with difficult situations
Dutch therapist and writer Eline Snel is the European reference for mindfulness applied to education. During her talk at BBVA’s Aprendemos juntos she explained: “mindfulness is not like a magic wand that you can point at a place and make everything go well, but it teaches you how to surf the waves. It teaches you to relax your mind before facing difficult situations so that you are aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. To be aware of what you are thinking and feeling while you are thinking or feeling it. It is something that everyone can do, it is not related to expectations or unattainable situations, but to something that is within ourselves. But we lose this talent because of our fast-paced lifestyles. In this sense it can be very important for both children and adults.
The key to mindfulness in education at Coruña British School is that when children pay attention to the movement they make when they breathe, they learn that they cannot think and worry at the same time. As the expert Snel, creator of the frog method in mindfulness for children, says, the success of practising mindfulness, so necessary for confidence, achievement and leadership, is that “most children will be able to manage strong emotions and recognise them and not get carried away by them. And they will be more understanding with themselves and with other children”. That’s why at our school we put all our efforts into fostering the emotional awareness of our students from day one, cultivating good habits, such as mindfulness, that promote self-discipline, respect and companionship.