A few years back, I attended a conference for Speech-Language Pathologists in British Columbia. I was fortunate to learn about several new concepts, but the concept of mindfulness was a new idea for me. It was a topic that really stuck out in my mind. What I found was that I could apply it to both my clientele and to aspects of my own life.
What Exactly IS Mindfulness?
Let’s look at the definition. In 1994, Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.”
How to Cultivate Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is cultivated through forms of meditation and through informal practice. A person is asked to breathe while focusing on physical sensations they are experiencing. What does the person see, hear, smell, feel, and taste?
In order to achieve mindfulness, a person chooses one thing that he or she can focus on. It could be breathing, a song or a raisin – it could be anything! Then all thoughts and feelings are channeled to the object for a prolonged period of time.
Sampling of an Experience in Mindfulness
In the seminar I attended, we were mindful of raisins. Yes, we were asked to think about tiny dried grapes!
We were instructed to take three raisins out of a box and hold them.
We then silently focused on how they felt in our hands and their weight and texture.
Then, we put one in our mouth, thinking about how it felt and tasted prior to chewing.
Next, we were instructed to chew it 15 times, thinking of the taste and texture as it was masticated.
Finally, we were asked to swallow, paying attention to how it felt as it disappeared down our throats.
When asked about our experiences during the exercise, people said they felt extremely focused and relaxed.
Effects of Practicing Mindfulness
By practicing mindfulness, one can experience feelings of calm. An individual may experience increased expression of kindness and compassion towards one’s self. Most notable is the experience of self acceptance. Insight and awareness can also be developed. Even individuals living with chronic pain can learn to live with with increased ease and even reduce the pain all together.
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My Mindfulness Plan
As a speech-language pathologist, I plan to use mindfulness with specific clients who struggle with stuttering.
These individuals experience stress and tension in their bodies, which causes them to block sounds from coming out.
Mindfulness can help my clients experience calm.
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In addition, teaching mindfulness practice to my clients will help them learn to accept themselves as they are and express kindness to themselves.
For me personally, I plan to use mindfulness to clear my mind and relax in this stressful world.
If you would like to learn more about implementing mindfulness with your child or in your clinic or classroom, check out the resourceful view on demand webinars below!
Applying Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom to Support Inclusion and Enhance Therapeutic Carryover
There is a growing number of neuro-diverse students in our schools today. Inclusive classrooms are designed to support all learners regardless of cognitive, physical, social or emotional differences. Meeting the basic individual needs of each student is essential for academic achievement and therapeutic growth. This requires great creativity and innovation. Yoga and mindfulness tools offer a unique and effective means of cultivating every students’ inner strengths, assisting growth. Cohesive, compassionate, and calm classrooms flourish, allowing every student to shine regardless of diagnosis or challenge. This 2-hour view on demand webinar is appropriate for beginning- to advanced-level occupational and physical therapists as well as other professionals interested in implementing Yoga in a classroom environment.
Visualization and Guided Meditation as a Tool for Emotional Regulation
With an ever-increasing pace in our classrooms and homes, record numbers of children are being diagnosed with anxiety and stress conditions at increasingly young ages. Medication has become a buzzword in the past few years, but what is it REALLY, and how does it benefit children? By tapping into current research in psychology, medicine, and neurology, this highly practical, 90-minute view on demand webinar examines the physiological effects of visualization and guided meditation on the nervous system and as a tool for relaxation.