Practicing Mindfulness in a Distracted World


Mindfulness noun mind·ful·ness \ˈmīn(d)-fəl-nəs\ is the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis. ~ Merriam-Webster

I find that I’m significantly more distracted now than I was 10-15 years ago and I attribute most of it to my work and technological advancements. As an IT Director, issues crop up literally every hour and some require a complete work pivot. Over time, this sequence caused me to lose mindfulness. Knowing this is an issue for me, I’ve been looking for strategies to improve mindfulness and I believe they are worth sharing because these skills are also important for our students. Students today hardly remember a day without cell phones and computers where distractions are “normal” yet we want critical thinkers, collaborators, creators, and communicators. A state of mindfullness helps students find success in those areas.

Assess Your Mindfulness

First, find out how mindful you are, try this Harvard Business Review (HBR) assessment designed in collaboration with Accenture. I’m a bit embarrassed to show my results but I’m calling it my “baseline data” to protect my psyche. The survey indicated that I’m distracted but aware, so I have some work to do. After you take the assessment, HBR kindly offered advice for improving mindfulness and they recommend that you have a friend take the survey based on their perspective of you. Love this idea!

Mindfulness for Students

I HIGHLY recommend that you watch the TedX video below where AnneMarie Rossi discusses the importance of mindfulness not only for us as adults but for our students. AnneMarie conducted a research study with the University of Colorado Denver on the impacts of mindfulness instruction on students in a fourth-grade low-income school. IStudents that participated in mindfulness practice scored 250% higher on emotional regulation, 600% higher on pro-social behavior and 550% higher on academic achievement than those that did not go through the class. The students were then asked about their perception of the class and 100% anonymously self-reported that they enjoyed the class, they benefited from the practice, they will continue to do it, and they believe all other children should learn it.

Resources for Teachers

Mindfulness App

While listening to the Tim Ferriss Show podcast he mentioned an app called HeadSpace: Guided Meditation and Mindfulness. There are free and paid meditations. Give it a try!

Reflect & Share

Do you have a great mindfulness practice? Do you practice mindfulness with your students? Add comments with your strategies below!