A Mindful Minute

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Photo used with permission from Jared Rice on Unsplash

A calm state of mind. Sometimes individuals fill their mind with worries about their past or future instead of enjoying the present. Reflecting on the present without any judgement is the practice of being mindful.

Shree Delwadia, Features Editor

The world is full of unknown moments, challenges, and accomplishments. As things around everyone always seem to be changing, it is nice to take a minute and reflect on the present. To encourage students and staff to practice mindfulness during this time, Forsyth County Schools started a program called Mindful Minute. Having mindfulness means consciously becoming aware of the present moment without any other judgment. 

Mindful Minute is a calming activity that can be found on the FCS Facebook page. Through daily live videos, led by the County Special Education Facilitator Ashley Baer, viewers can participate in different exercises that lead to mindfulness. At 1 P.M. every day, she presents different breathing techniques to relieve stress and help others focus on the current moment. The hope of these videos is to help control our response to the world instead of immediately reacting to it negatively.

For those who cannot attend, the FCS Facebook page records and saves the videos. The live video allows individuals from all over the county to interact and comment on different things such as what they are grateful for. One of the goals during these sessions is to help others achieve equanimity. During a difficult time, the key to staying successful is to have balance and calmness all throughout the body. 

Many individuals are grateful to have this serene moment to reflect on how they are doing. These few minutes allows an individual to detox from school, work, or any other busying activities.

Mindful Minute is for anyone to participate with.  I have participated in it every day last week,” said SFHS Assistant Principal Carrie MacAllaster. “It is a great way to calm and be mindful—I love it.”

Within the videos, each breathing technique has a different focus such as gratitude, confidence, positivity, etc. One breathing technique called arrow breathing uses different hand movements as one inhales and exhales. Additionally, Ms. Baer presents small exercises and gestures to create connectivity throughout the whole body. These different techniques allow for the body to relax and find its inner tranquility. 

As one exhales and inhales, they are told to repeat different phrases to themselves or in their mind. For instance, during one of the breathing sessions, they would say “I calm my mind” as they inhale and “I calm my body” as they exhale. Each different phrase is repeated three times to benefit the body and mind. 

Interacting with an individual’s nervous system, this daily exercise is sure to help calm the mind and body. Ms. Baer explains in the videos how the slow breathing exercises reach into the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This is the body’s nervous system that calms one down after a rush of adrenaline.  Additionally, the gentle inhaling and exhaling lead to a relaxed state which boosts certain emotions like happiness. Below is an infographic showing simple steps, designed by Ms. Baer, to begin practicing mindfulness. 

Dwelling on the future and the past often leads to troubled states of mind. These regular sessions allow one to not only calm their body down but also reflect on how they are personally doing. Often, Ms. Baer has those watching the videos to say positive affirmations to themselves to increase their confidence and morale. During unforeseen times like these, taking care of oneself is essential to staying healthy and happy. To watch more Mindful Minute videos, please click here.