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Five Senses Practice

Five Senses Practice

This handout can be used to guide your practice of attending to the five senses. Ideally this practice is done somewhere in nature. At Stanford, we take this worksheet to our beautiful cactus garden

near the psychiatry building. The directions are simple, use the corresponding bubbles to jot down what you notice regarding your sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. At the cactus garden, it is hard to notice taste, so you may use the “flavor” of the air as the cue for this sense. A fun activity following the completion of the worksheet is to try to turn your observations into a poem about the experience.

A thumbnail of the practice is visible to the right.

You can download the worksheet with the link below:


Enjoy the practice!

Five Senses of Fall

Five Senses of Fall

Hello Mindful Readers! This week’s focus is the Five Senses of Fall. Last week was the Fall Equinox- the first sign that days won’t be quite as long as summer time, and that the season has changed.

This week’s practice will be a reflection on Fall, and what that means to you using our Five Senses.

1. Sight- What do you see that lets you know it is Fall?
2. Sound- What kinds of sounds might you hear during Fall?
3. Taste- What kinds of tastes make you think of Fall?
4. Smell- What kinds of smells remind you of Fall?
5. Touch- What might you touch, or stomp on in the Fall?

Student tip: If you’re feeling creative, make a collage with magazine pictures, or photos you print off the computer (with your parent or guardian’s permission). A drawing is also a great idea. You can even ask if it’s okay to take your own photos of what reminds you of fall for each sense and make a collage with those photos. The sky is the limit. Use your awesome creative skills!

Teacher’s tip: Engage the students to perhaps imagine they are actually working through each experience with their five senses. Ex. Tell me what you see outside that reminds you of Fall. Tell me what a pumpkin pie is like that reminds you of Fall flavors. For more creative students, you might support them in making a collage, or figuring out what to take photos of that best represents their Five Senses of Fall.

Mindful Time Tracking: Putting it all Together

Mindful Time Tracking: Putting it all Together

Welcome back Mindful Time Trackers. These last weeks have been an adventure of testing out new ways of going about your week or even your day, and also of noticing how these make you feel. What a journey it has been.

If you’ve been following along, you have done a lot of hard work. Give yourself a huge pat on the back and acknowledge, or see, that you accomplished something big. It takes a lot of dedication to make any kind of change in your day to day life.

This week is about noticing how awesome you’ve done, and about noticing how organizing your time differently (or at all) may have made you feel. Take a few moments to just sit and think about this, or make a drawing, poem, anything that you think expresses that.

Now take a moment to notice how it was to make Mindfulness part of your schedule, or something that you have planned in as a regular part of your life. Was it easier to practice that way? Was it harder? How did you feel after you practiced? If you didn’t practice, think of what would have made you want to practice more.

With all of the reflection and Mindful Time Tracking you’ve practiced, you are ready to keep Time Tracking on your own! If you feel like you need a refresher, just start back at the first Mindful Time Tracking Practice, or the one that was most difficult for you until you feel ready to take the next step.

Student Tip: The ongoing challenge is to schedule one Mindfulness practice in your planner, calendar, or phone reminders every week! You can write it all out at once if you’d like, or test your planning skills to add it each week when you plan out your schedule.

Teacher’s Tip: It might be helpful to demonstrate adding an ongoing event to a calendar, planner, or phone reminder system so the kids have a visual understanding.

Remember we become Mindful experts by practicing. Good luck Mindful Time Trackers! You’re going to do great.

Mindful Time Tracking: Part III

Mindful Time Tracking: Part III

Last week you reflected on what worked and what didn’t work so well from your Mindful Time Tracking practice. You then took one or more practices and kept using them this week to see how it went. Take a moment to notice how your second week of Mindful Time Tracking went. Did it go better or worse than last week? Maybe it was better because you got to choose what worked best for you. Maybe it was worse because it was annoying to write things down. Remember, it gets easier with practice- so we will keep practicing!

This week we’re going to practice using our Mindful Time Tracking skills by adding something to our schedules. The practice this week is to try Belly Breathing or a Flower Petals Body Scan from our recent 3×3 Mindfulness Challenge just one time. This is a way to build in time for  your Mindfulness practice by putting it on your Mindful Time Tracker (schedule). This will also help you practice your Mindful Time Tracking skills of writing the reminder down and remembering to look at it.

So go ahead and choose either Belly Breathing or Flower Petals Body Scan to practice this week. Pick a day and time where you don’t have anything else scheduled, and write down “Practice Flower Petals Body Scan” or “Practice Belly Breathing.”

Use the tools that worked best these last two weeks to help you remember to practice, and to check your schedule in the first place!

We’ll check in next week to see how it went. You’re going to do great.





Mindful Time Tracking: Part II

Mindful Time Tracking: Part II

Hello Mindful Time Trackers! How was it for you to organize your time on a calendar or in a planner? Take a few moments to reflect on your experience, and notice what your reactions are.

Here are some questions for reflection:

  • Was is easy or hard?
  • What was easy or hard about it?
  • Did one part of the system (calendar, planner, phone reminders) work better or worse for you?
  • Did you notice yourself getting annoyed or frustrated using these ways of Mindful Time Tracking?

Part of Mindful Time Tracking is to notice what happens when you use one way or another. It is to become an expert at noticing: what works, what doesn’t, what could be a cool thing to try.

If something worked well for you, you might try it again next week. If something didn’t work well for you, you might still try it again to give it another shot- or just let it go. Remember, we are always learning. This practice is just a hands on way to make the most of our learning abilities by organizing our time.

Keep using whatever method worked well for you (or giving one that you’re on the fence about another shot) and we’ll check in again next week for the last part of our Mindful Time Tracking series.

Remember, we practice over and over to make habits. So it’s okay if it practice before this might seem normal or easy to you. You’re doing awesome!

Mindful Time Tracking: Part I

Mindful Time Tracking: Part I

As the beginning of the school year sets in, you might find yourself scrambling to adjust back to your school schedule. Summer break to the start of school is a big change: from long, mellow days, to many periods or hours of learning. It makes sense that this could be hard for lots of people, even your teacher! So we’re going to talk about some ways to practice Mindful Time Tracking to help make the transition into the school year as smooth as can be!

Elementary Students:

  • Ask your parents if you can start a calendar together with important school days, like tests or field trips on it.
  • Get some arts and crafts supplies like stickers or markers, and make your calendar super awesome! This might be fun to do with your brothers or sisters, or your parents too.
  • Look at your calendar at the beginning of each week to see what it coming up! If you need help remembering and have a phone, ask your parents to put a reminder on there. If you don’t have a phone, ask your parents if they’d be willing to help remind you.
  • Just like all of our Mindfulness practices: the more you practice, the better you get!

Middle School and up:

  • Buy or make a calendar to plan out your month, or week if you’re really busy. Dry erase boards can be nice so you can make changes and wipe it clean whenever the next month or week arrives.
  • If you have a planner that your school gave you, start using it! They are super helpful for… you guessed it: planning!
  • Planners can look a little boring to begin with- if yours is like that, make it super fun and eye catching so that you actually want to look at it. Choose things that reflect who you are, like stickers, metallic colors, glitter, you name it!
  • Put really important things into your phone too. The nice thing about using your phone is that you can set alarms and sounds to go off that remind you of what you need to do and where you need to be.
  • Set reminders on your phone to look at your planner and calendar at least once at the beginning of each week. That way you know if anything important is coming up.
  • Just like all of our Mindfulness practices: the more you practice, the better you get!

If you already do these things, awesome! If not, try them out and see what works best for you!

Mindfulness Challenge: Combo Pack

Mindfulness Challenge: Combo Pack

Congrats on making it through the three parts of the 3×3 Mindfulness Challenge and Reflection! Now that you have begun to build your skill of regular practice, and reflection, it’s time to test out your Mindfulness Skills even more for this next part of the practice series.

The Mindfulness Challenge: Combo Pack puts together all 3 practices from the Challenge to make one big one. For this Challenge, you will practice your Flower Petals Body Scan, Belly Breathing, and Finding a Peaceful Place in the Mind. The main difference this time is that you will put them all together to make a longer practice. It is okay if each one doesn’t take exactly three minutes. Start by setting a timer for 9 minutes, and if it is too long, try 6 minutes.

Step 1: Practice the Flower Petals Body Scan. Once you finish the scan, move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Practice 9 rounds of deep Belly Breathing.

Step 3: Practice Finding a Peaceful Place in the Mind until your timer rings.

The Combo Pack challenge is to practice all three steps together three days in a row. You already did this before with the shorter Challenge, so we know you’re ready to give it a try!

Once you finish each practice, OR at the end of the third day, use your new reflection skills to notice how you feel. You can go back to the reflection practice to find questions to help you reflect.

Good Luck!

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Breath

3×3 Mindfulness Challenge: Breath

It all starts with something small.

This week’s 3 x3 Mindfulness Challenge is Belly Breathing. Practice Belly Breathing for 3 Minutes a day, 3 days in a row! Below is a refresher of the practice. The full length practice is also available from previous posts.

10 step guide to Belly Breathing:

  1. Find a comfortable seat (or lie down on your back)
  2. Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes with a relaxing sound to bring you back
  3. Bring one hand to your belly, the other hand to your heart
  4. Close your eyes and begin to notice the path of your breath
  5. Notice as air goes into your nose, travels down your throat and fills up your belly on the in-breath
  6. Notice as your belly falls back toward your spine and the air travels up through your throat and out of your nose on the out-breath
  7. Repeat this until your timer goes off: if you are on an in-breath when 3 minutes is up, take time to end on an out-breath so you are balanced
  8. Keep your eyes closed and just notice how you feel. Is it any different from when you started the practice?
  9. Gently blink your eyes open
  10. Great job!

See if you can make it to 3 days in a row! If you miss a day, don’t worry, just start again the next day!

3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge

3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge

It all starts with something small.

As we learned before, you have the power to create a Mindful Inner and Outer Landscape through your Mindfulness practices. The 3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge helps us Maintain our Mindful Inner and Outer Landscape by practicing 3 minutes a day for 3 days in a row!

Some day we want to be able to practice every single day. Just like a garden needs sunshine to grow, your Mindful Inner and Outer Landscape needs practice to keep growing beautifully too! Since most things don’t grow all at once, we’re going to start small then work our way up.

There will be one 3 minute, 3 day challenge each week for 3 weeks: Body, Breath, Mind. They are meant to be practiced in order, and one per week so you become a Mindful expert with each one.

How can you prepare? It might be helpful to find a  calendar, or make your own to note each time you complete a day of the 3 x 3 Mindfulness Challenge. You can use stickers, colors, draw a star, or anything else that makes you happy to show that you practiced. If possible, hang it up somewhere you see all the time so it can be a reminder to practice!

Stay tuned for next week’s challenge!

Mindful Pause for Gratitude: Independence

Mindful Pause for Gratitude: Independence

With Independence Day approaching, it’s nice to take a Mindful Pause to reflect of all we have to be grateful for! You might already know that the 4th of July is a holiday to celebrate our country’s independence- but what does independence really mean anyhow? Independence means that we are in charge of ourselves as a country and as a people. That’s why we do things like vote when we’re grown ups- so that we can help choose what happens around us.

Mindfulness is a lot like independence because it helps us choose how we want to act in the world around us too. As we’ve learned in past lessons, when we are Mindful, we are able to Pause and reflect on our options. This ability gives us the freedom to act in a way that best serves us and others, instead of choosing something out of anger or impatience for example. So good job Mindful ones, you are cultivating (or growing) your own independence every time that you practice!

Today we’re going to practice taking a Mindful Pause for Gratitude. The topic of our Gratitude today is Independence. You may choose to focus on Independence relating to the 4th of July, since that is coming up (or already happened depending on when you read this), or maybe Independence relating to something else completely. Notice what naturally comes up in your practice.

Begin by closing your eyes. Connect to your breath by paying attention to your in-breath and your out-breath. Take five deep rounds of breath, bringing the in-breath all the way down into your belly, and drawing your belly back toward your spine on the out-breath. At the end of your fifth out-breath, keep your eyes closed and slowly bring one hand on top of the other onto your heart. Move your in-breath and your out-breath to the space of your heart now. Feel your heart grow big and full on the in-breath, and soften your heart on the out-breath. Take three more rounds like this.

Once you have connected your breath to your heart, begin to connect your mind to your hearth. Start to notice what about your independence, your freedom to choose, you are grateful for in this moment. Notice whatever comes up. It can be big or small. Maybe it is being able to go to school and learn, or maybe it is something like being able to choose what you eat for dinner once a week. Once you notice what you are grateful for, begin to breathe into that feeling. Hold that gratitude for your independence in your heart. Fill it up on your in-breath, and take it in to your heart on your out-breath. Take five more rounds like this, all the while holding that gratitude in your heart space.

When your finish your last out-breath, keep your eyes closed and just notice how your feel. How does your body feel? How does your breath feel? How does your mind feel? Maybe even turn the corners of your mouth up to the sky… and gently open your eyes when you are ready.