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We practice mindfulness in school

Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Dathy Pham, Dix Hills

At Lakeville Elementary School in Great Neck, we do something very interesting. It’s a skill called mindfulness, and we practice it almost every week. It is a way to relax your brain and body.

For example, if you can’t control yourself, you would go to a chair and sit down. As you close your eyes and challenge yourself not to move, your body will feel a lot more relaxed.

Mindfulness is for anyone at any age at any time. All you will need is a quiet room and a chair. Then sit on the chair, close your eyes and think of peaceful things without moving. As a challenge, you could try to do what's called a body scan, which means that you "travel" to different parts of your body and focus on each one. You would start from the legs and move up to the head and shoulders. What do you feel? What do you hear? Try not to let anything distract you, just think about what you like. When you breathe, you breathe in through your nose and out through the mouth, slowly and thoughtfully. Get everything out of your mind.

There’s a lot more to mindfulness, such as mindful moving, when you move slowly and calmly without moving or running fast, or anchor words, which are words you say in your head to help you focus on something on the inside rather than the outside (for example, "Breathe in, Breathe out").

When you know what to do, mindfulness can be done by anyone. All you have to do is close your eyes, think about anything peaceful, and you can calm down! Mindfulness is a great skill everyone should know because if they are upset, they can always be mindful and feel a whole lot better.

Thomas Hughes' fifth-grade class, Lakeville Elementary School, Great Neck

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