What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness involves bringing one’s full attention into the present moment without judging or evaluating the experience. There are two components to mindfulness:
- the intentional focus of attention on present experience, especially thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, and,
- taking a particular stance toward those experiences that invites curiosity, acceptance and interested investigation (Kabat-Zinn, 1990). Mindfulness offers a structured means of slowing down and exploring our inner and outer worlds reflectively. It is an ancient and simple practice that anyone can learn and teach. Neuroscience has powerfully illustrated that by using mindfulness, we can rewire our brains to cope in healthy ways to the stressors in our lives.
NMSIP is incorporating the practice of mindfulness across all its programs: in our work with youth and their families at the SKY Counseling Center; in training beginning therapists to develop therapeutic presence; and at various Northern New Mexico school sites where we are working with vulnerable students. We have found it to be an additional resource in the important work of preventing suicide.
A pilot project to bring mindfulness to first and second grade students in spring 2011 showed promising results. This 6 week program was based at Acequia Madre Elementary School in Santa Fe.