Frequently asked questions about mindfulness and my mindfulness programs

On this page you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, including links to additional resources for further information. If you have a question that isn’t covered here, please contact me

What is mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as: “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

In practice, mindfulness looks like:

  • Observing our breath without changing it
  • Observing the sensations in our physical body, part by part
  • Noticing what we feel: what does anger feel like? What does joy feel like?
  • Eating with the 5 senses

And doing it all with a hint of kindness towards ourselves and others by sending kind thoughts and gratitude.

It’s also important to understand what mindfulness is NOT:

  • It’s not a religion
  • It’s not about not having emotions
  • It’s not about not having thoughts – or having an empty mind

For a more detailed explanation, see What is Mindfulness?

Is mindfulness a religion? Is this a religious program?

While mindfulness is used in various belief systems, it is not a religious practice. This program contains no religious instruction or ideology.

Is mindfulness the same as meditation?

Meditation and mindfulness are interrelated, but they are not the same thing. Meditation is typically a seated practice and often includes mindfulness as a component.

Mindfulness is practiced when awake and doing something – it’s about noticing what is happening right now.

For a more detailed explanation, see this article: 5 differences between mindfulness and meditation

How does mindfulness benefit children?

For such a simple practice, mindfulness has many benefits:

  • Better concentration, which in turn leads to better scores at school
  • Better performance in sport, music, dance, any artistic activity
  • Less stress before, during, after a test or a presentation
  • Ability to calm down by themselves when they have a strong emotion such as anger, sadness, excitement
  • Easier time falling asleep and sleeping better
  • Increased happiness at school and at home,
  • Ability to avoid fights and arguments
  • Ability to make better decisions
  • …and so much more!

“Overall, people who learn to practice mindfulness are able to pay attention better and are less distractible. Mindfulness also helps individuals stay calm under stress, avoid getting too upset, get along better with others, and be more patient. It can even impact learning, help kids and teens become better listeners, and help them feel happier overall.” ~ Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids and Teens

How does mindfulness help with self-regulation?
Why teach mindfulness in school?

“Students face new challenges”, “Educators are burning out”, “Toxic stress is real” ~ Mindful Schools, Why is mindfulness needed in education?

“Research shows that mindfulness skills improve memory, organizational skills, reading and math scores, all while giving kids the tools they need to handle toxic stress.” ~ Michelle Kinder, Why Mindfulness Belongs in the Classroom

“A new study suggests that mindfulness education — lessons on techniques to calm the mind and body — can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.” ~ Grace Tatter, Making Time for Mindfulness

What’s the relationship between mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning?

Mindfulness contributes to Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

“When taught together, mindfulness and SEL can have a powerful affect on students’ ability to manage emotions and demonstrate social and emotional aptitude. This in turn leads to improved behavior and academic outcomes.” ~ Aperture Education, How Mindfulness Fits into the SEL framework

“Both SEL and mindfulness each have their limitations. Being mindful doesn’t ensure a student can successfully build relationships with their teachers. Having social and emotional skills can’t guarantee a student can mentally ground themselves if they face a challenging situation. Fortunately, they can be taught together to ensure students benefit from a well rounded education.” ~ Edulastic, Mindfulness vs Social Emotional Learning: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning?

The school I train with has a fantastic article that explains this clearly. Here is an excerpt:

Consider this classroom scenario…

You’re teaching your students a social-emotional learning (SEL) lesson about conflict-resolution, and students are engaging in role plays where they identify how they are feeling and practice working out a conflict. Then they head out to recess, and immediately are fighting over who gets to go first on the swings.

When your students are back in the classroom, you ask them, “I’m wondering why we didn’t use our conflict resolution skills we’d just been practicing to solve that problem?”

Blank looks. Shrugs. A student finally offers, “I was just super mad. I couldn’t think straight.”

Does that sound familiar?

For our students to access a sense of calm, in addition to their problem-solving skills, when they are in an argument on the playground, they need to have first practiced finding regulation when their system is more relaxed and at ease.

This is why mindfulness and social-emotional learning (SEL) programs can be a powerful component of your school curriculum and culture.

You can read the full article here:

My child is on medication, has ADHD, is on the there any contraindication?

No, except for children with mental illnesses or high anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts.

There is some research showing that mindfulness can be helpful:

“While children (with ASD) did not report significant changes in mindful awareness, their social communication problems decreased, and their emotional and behavioral functioning improved.” ~ Mindfulness-Based Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Parents: Direct and Long-Term Improvements

We’d like to bring this program to our school, but some teachers aren’t interested. Should we make it mandatory?

My programs work best when teachers are interested in mindfulness and willing to practice alongside their students. If the teacher isn’t interested and doesn’t see the benefits, the students will feel it – so please don’t force any teacher to do the program!