Refocusing our Attention is the final part of our Mindful Midday Series. After refueling our minds and bodies through nutritious lunch choices and movement, it is time to refocus our attention for the rest of the day ahead of us. When we move and leave the classroom environment, it is easy and natural for us to get distracted. We use mindfulness to bring us back into the present moment so that we can be our best selves wherever we are.
There are many ways to refocus the attention when coming back into the classroom from your lunch break. Some of the ways we have learned before are: Mountain Pose, Senses Ladder Activity, Body Awareness Activity, Tree Pose, and even Waking up the Brain: Becoming Present from our Mindful Mornings series. If any of those activities worked well for you in the past, you can go ahead and try them out to see how they work as an after-lunch activity. It’s okay to try different ones each day until you find what is right for you. On some days, your teacher might want everyone to practice the same activity together, as a community. In this case, it is best to listen to your teacher’s instructions, and follow that practice the best you can.
Teacher’s Tip: The following is a group exercise than can be used to Refocus Attention. Reading the Mountain Pose post may be helpful, but it will be instructed briefly in this exercise as well.
Refocusing your Attention
Begin by standing up tall, with your feet as wide as your hips, and your palms facing forward. Mountain Pose is a wonderful way to become grounded in the present moment, so we will begin our exercise here. Notice your feet pressing into the floor below you, your fingers spreading wide, and the crown of your head lifting up high to the sky. Allow your eyes to gently close, and begin to breathe in and out through your nose.
See if you can direct your breath to the tips of your toes. Notice how it feels to move your breath and attention there. Now begin to slowly move your breath and attention up through the feet- pausing here, through the legs- pausing at the knees, into the hips- taking a few extra breaths there, the belly and low back- breathing in deeply, the chest and upper back- breathing deeply here too, and up through the throat to the very top of your head. We start at the feet so that we can feel centered and connected to where we are at this moment, both in the body and the mind.
Begin to notice the sounds in the room around you. Seeing if you can hear the sounds that are farthest away and the quietest first, and eventually listening for sounds that are really close by- like your own breath. As we bring our attention back in, notice how you are feeling now compared to when we started.
Take a moment to write or draw one reflection before we start our afternoon lesson.
Student’s Tip: You can use this practice anytime you would like to bring your attention back into the present moment, not just after lunch. Remember that there are many other activities you can use too, like the ones mentioned earlier in this post, and the best way to see what works best is to try them!