Mindfulness is an intentional way to handle stress and live more fully. Each of us possess the resources within ourselves to be present in each moment, whatever it brings. With mindfulness, we are able to set aside judgement and bring to that moment an attitude of kindness and curiosity. But, why should we practice it? Well in our busy world where we are constantly bombarded with various stimuli and media we could use a break. Mindfulness has been proven to benefit both mind and body when practiced regularly by reducing anxiety, improving sleep and boosting the immune system.
From February to May, MPPC youth will have an opportunity to practice mindfulness with a series of drop-in workshops taught by experts from the Charlotte Center for Mindfulness. Through these guided practices, youth will join together in community to learn skills for self-care, increase their kindness and compassion for others, and reduce stress. The workshops will take place at MPPC, Time Out Youth and in the Grier Heights community, giving youth a chance to engage in this practice with youth from different parts of the city as well. 10th grader Parker Hanley was first introduced to the practice of mindfulness last summer and has noticed a drastic change in her life ever since. “I’ve noticed that I am not only much happier and less stressed, but more appreciative of the things I have in my daily life that tend to be taken for granted,” Parker says. “Even an act as simple as stopping to take a breath or pausing to look around and thanking God for what He has given us can bring so much peach to the mind and body, and that’s what mindfulness has given me: peace and bliss”.
One common misconception is that mindfulness requires absolute stillness and meditation for extended periods of time. While this is one way of practicing it, one doesn’t have to be completely shut off to be mindful. “Mindfulness is really about being present in the moment, and having what you feel within your self be how you see the world around you,” Parker adds. “Being mindful aids in discarding some of the bad stress we feel so it is possible to stop, breathe, and be grateful. So whether it’s taking out your earbuds on the ride home or pausing for five minutes a day to focus on your breathing to re-center yourself, mindfulness is a relatively simple and wildly beneficial practice that I encourage everyone to do, no matter your age”.
Want to learn more? Contact Michelle Thomas-Bush, Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at firstname.lastname@example.org.