As we go through our day, it’s all to easy to get caught up in a situation, we might find ourselves feeling irritated, upset or angry. If we are unaware of these emotions, they can negatively impact our actions and decisions.
This is true for everyone, including the students that we work with.
By encouraging students to apply mindfulness during moments when they are feeling upset or angry, we can support them to regain control and make better choices.
A great way to develop this ability, is with the Mindfulness Stop Skill. This simple acronym was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living.
The great thing about the Mindfulness Stop Skill is that anyone can use it without the need for formal mindfulness training. By introducing our students to the steps in the Mindfulness Stop Skill we can support them to bring a little mindfulness into their day to day experiences; and particularly when they might be feeling upset or angry. Furthermore, a simple mindfulness practice can boost wellbeing, and support positive mental health.
The simplicity of this message makes it easy to remember and reference with our students.
The STOP Acronym stands for:
Stop whatever you are doing, and take a moment to pause and if suitable, close your eyes.
T: Take a breath.
Breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Pay attention to your breath.
Notice what is happening around you. How are you feeling? What thoughts do you notice? What are you doing right now?
Continue with what you were doing. Once you’ve taken the time to notice your breath, you might feel calmer and make a different decision about what you are doing.
You could try introducing these steps to your students. Explain that we can use the Mindfulness Stop Skill to help us to calm down and make better choices. You can then do a practice run with your class, say each of the steps, then guide your students through the process.
To get your students thinking about how they could use the Mindfulness Stop Skill, discuss the following questions:
- When would it be useful to stop, and take a breath?
- How could taking a moment to calm down, help us to make better choices?
Now you have introduced the idea of the Mindfulness Stop Skill, you can then call on it when you need to. For example, you could use the Mindfulness Stop Skill before starting a lesson to increase focus in the classroom. Or if a student is feeling upset or angry, we could encourage them to use the Mindfulness Stop Skill to take a breath and regain control of their emotions.
You could also display the Mindfulness Stop Poster in your classroom. This can serve as a useful reminder to implement mindfulness into our everyday lives. Here is the poster:
At OpenView Education we work with students throughout England to support students in our mental health and wellbeing workshops for schools. A big focus of these workshops is showing students how we can use simple mindfulness techniques.
So why not arrange a workshop for your school today? Get in touch here.