Mindful Observation Exercise
- Participate in a mindful observation exercises to gain awareness of their surroundings and the present moment
- Foster feelings of peace and relaxation
When students participate in mindfulness programs at school, researchers have found numerous benefits, including increased cognitive performance, calmness, and emotional regulation, and decreased stress and tiredness. Thus, we encourage educators to implement mindfulness practices, such as the ones below, throughout the school day.
To learn more about this skill, and how it promotes students’ healthy growth and the development of empathy, please check out our Empathy Framework.
- Introduce the practice to students by explaining: “Let’s engage in a mindful observation exercise to help us become more aware of our surroundings. Don’t worry if your mind wanders, and just gently bring your focus back to the present moment. I’ll guide you through each step of the exercise.”
- Engage students in the observation exercise by reading the script below.
- Afterwards, invite students to reflect on their experience by asking the following questions:
• What senses were you most aware of during the exercise?
• Did this exercise help you feel more grounded in the present moment, and more aware of your surroundings?
- Find a comfortable seated position, and take a moment to settle in.
- Place one hand on your stomach and take a deep breath. Inhale for a count of 4, feeling your stomach gently expand, and then exhale slowly. Let's do this together two more times. Inhale - 1, 2, 3, 4 - and exhale. Inhale - 1, 2, 3, 4 - and exhale.
- Close your eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, try to find a spot on the wall where you can softly rest your gaze.
- Notice the contact between your feet and the floor. Imagine that your feet are roots growing into the earth, anchoring you and connecting you to the world around you. Feel the gentle pressure, the stability, and the support of the ground beneath you.
- Focus on your sense of hearing. Notice the sounds around you, and take a few moments to listen without judgment, allowing the sounds to come and go.
- Now, bring your attention to the sense of touch. Notice the feeling of your clothes against your skin, the weight of your body on the chair, and any other sensations you may feel.
- Shift your awareness to your sense of smell. Notice any scents that are present in your surroundings. Breathe in - 1, 2, 3, 4 - and allow yourself to be fully present and aware.
- If your eyes are closed, gently open them now. With a soft and relaxed gaze, observe your environment. Notice the colors, shapes, and textures around you. Allow your eyes to slowly move around, exploring the details of your surroundings.
- Take a deep breath in - 1, 2, 3, 4 - and as you exhale, gently bring your attention back to your body and the present moment.
If students in both classes have individual devices (e.g., mobile phone, tablet, laptop, etc.)...
Use a platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams which allows you to screen-share during a video call.
One educator should set up the Kahoot! game and share the code with students in both classes by following this tutorial about using Kahoot! in a remote learning environment, and share their screen so everyone can follow along.
If students in either class don’t have individual devices...
Follow the same instructions above, with one educator starting the game and sharing their screen so both classes can follow along.
Instead of students joining the game to answer the questions, they can hold up their fingers, call out their answer, or use a paper template to indicate their response.