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Developing K-Kids into mindful leaders

According to a recent study, the mind wanders (i.e., thinks about something other than what one is actually doing) 42% of the time. That could mean pleasant thoughts, but it’s usually about negative, worrisome things—and the same negative thoughts over and over. Learning to break this pattern makes a huge impact on an individual's happiness.

Mindfulness can help. It’s the practice of being in the moment without judgment—which cultivates happiness, compassion, kindness and connection to self and others.

Since the brain is wired to anticipate danger, we pull memories from previous experiences. This creates the lens we see through when approaching and processing future experiences. But mindfulness provides a way to respond rather than react—to let go of preconceived notions and instead approach events with openness.

A few key activities can help club members view a service project with fresh eyes—and focus on the present moment, immersing the mind in the activity at hand.

Check out our handouts for some simple mindfulness activities They’ll help club members develop:

Concentration.
Noticing the activity of the mind and how the mind wanders, then bringing the mind back to the current moment.

Sense experience.
The ability to identify our emotions when we feel particular things in our senses. Example: My heart is pounding, my breathing is speeding up, my stomach feels queasy, this is what fear feels like. I’m scared. I’ll take deep breaths to calm myself.

Equanimity.
The ability to “be with” the experience without overidentifying with it—or pushing it away. Members learn to find balance and neutrality within a situation, however intense it may be.

Read through the mindfulness activities and try a few with K-Kids members before and after their service projects. Each activity will take only five minutes—or fewer. These activities are offered by Mindful Schools and Project Happiness. These organizations develop curriculum based on Neuroscience, Positive Psychology and Mindfulness.

Before for the event
Conduct these activities before a K-Kids event to open club members to a mindful, meaningful experience.

Introduction: Why Mindfulness – why we’re trying these activities.
Guide: Why Mindfulness discussion sheet

Activity 1: Explaining mindful bodies
Guide: Mindful body description
Worksheet: Mindful body (from Mindful Schools)

Activity 2: Self check-in
Guide: Conducting a self check-in
Worksheet: Emotions – (from Mindful Schools)

Activity: Mindful breathing
Guide: Mindful breathing script - (from Project Happiness)
Worksheet: Anchor words and breathing– (from Mindful Schools)

Activity: Mindful listening
Guide: Mindful listening - (from Project Happiness)
Worksheet: Mindful listening - (from Mindful Schools)

After the event
Help K-Kids members process the emotions they experienced after the event by doing these activities.

Activity: Body scan
Guide: Body scan – (from Project Happiness)
Worksheet: Body awareness – (from Mindful Schools)

Activity: Reflection
Guide/Worksheet: K-Kids reflection questions

Activity: Sending kind thoughts
Guide: Sending kind thoughts
Worksheet: Sending kind thoughts to others - (from Mindful Schools)

Activity: Encouraging mindfulness in all you do
Guide: Encouraging Mindfulness in all you do
Handout: What K-Kids do

All the Mindful Leadership Activities in one booklet.

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