Stories from the Field, Part I: Trying it out in real life

Stories from the Field are small moments about how mindfulness is impacting the students I am working with, in hopes of capturing what it means to learn and use mindfulness. This story comes from a large high school in Portland, Maine:


We started last class by discussing the above quote, and how when we continue to be angry, it actually punishes ourselves rather than the person towards whom we hold anger. We then explored the physical sensations associated with different emotions. Students noticed things like anger in their fists and jaw, gratitude in their stomach, and worry in their chest. These physical sensations are indicators for us about what's going on, and often go unnoticed. We closed by practicing mindful breathing as a way to anchor ourselves when we feel strong emotions arising.

Two days later, a beautiful thing happened:

One of the big boys (when did high schoolers get so big?) came in and told us he used mindfulness just that morning when he was furious. He said he was the kind of person who would usually go off, but he thought about what we talked about last class and went and found a counselor instead of what he would normally do. There was a round of applause from his classmates. 

My lesson: I don't always know who mindfulness is going to stick with nor how they are going to use it. I was was most excited that he seemed proud of himself taking a different course of action that may actually help him in the long run.