The theme for this week at Grimsdell has been Wellbeing and all that this entails; healthy bodies, healthy minds, happy hearts and a sense of calm and peace.
One area that we have been exploring at Grimsdell is Mindfulness. There is an increasing body of research now that documents the impact mindfulness can have on mental health and wellbeing but also on performance. Sportswomen, men and teams have found that practising mindfulness can increase positive attitudes, self-belief and focus – and these effects are also found in other areas of work and walks of life.
Mindfulness can be a confusing concept to grasp as it is subject to much misinterpretation, but essentially it is a practice that trains the body and mind to focus on being present in the moment through exercises that draw our attention to our breath, our bodies and minds in time and space. Through this practice, one’s anxieties about the many complications and issues that life throws up are reduced and this has both short and long term benefits for our overall sense of happiness and ability to cope with stress.
Mindfulness in schools is a relatively new concept but a growing one. If the practice has been so successful in many adults, why not teach children how to use these methods for their own wellbeing so that practice can become ingrained in their learning? In our school one member of staff started the mindfulness journey for herself and has been sharing her experiences with other teachers, some of whom have begun their own journeys. Her journey began simply by reading a book: ‘Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a Frantic World’ and 18 months later she speaks with honesty and conviction about the impact it has had on her life. With my support and that of the senior team, she shared her experiences with other teachers, some of whom have now begun their own journeys.
As part of Wellbeing week, the children have been introduced to some simple techniques to regain their sense of calm after playtime or in a situation where they may find themselves distressed or anxious. Our music department has also been working with children on mindful music activities and sharing these across the staff team so that children have a variety of fun and child friendly ways to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness has wellbeing at its heart but also the aspiration of success. In one research piece the attributes of the most successful people in the world were scrutinised and the discovery was fascinating. One attribute most consistent in these successful individuals was not creativity, resilience or collaboration – although these things are obviously hugely important – it was self-control. The importance of teaching and nurturing self-control in a practical and achievable way is therefore essential which is why at Grimsdell our Mindfulness adventure has only just begun.
We look forward to keeping you up to date with our progress in future blogs.