Mindful People - Novice High
Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes
- recognize attributes belonging to mindful people.
- Identify how to approach a problematic situation mindfully.
Language Learning Outcomes
- acquire new vocabulary in the context of mindfulness.
- connect new vocabulary to background knowledge.
- research and write about a topic.
Review this definition or another definition of mindfulness: "maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens." Tell students that today they will learn how to be more mindful by learning about mindful people.
Definition retrieved from: https://edtechbooks.org/-DAw
Activate Background Knowledge
Have students watch this video about a Yogi (someone who practices yoga) who learns that part of becoming a mindful person is being patient and flexible.
Invite students to discuss what does being a mindful person mean, what attributes does a mindful person have? After discussing these questions, ask students to share their ideas on the following question:
- How does being patient with yourself and others allow you to be mindful?
Activity 1: Listening/Speaking
Split people into three groups. Assign one group to the Dalai Lama, one group to Mahatma Gandhi, and one to Mother Teresa. Explain that these three people have a reputation for living mindfully. Give students time to research their assigned person using the internet, and take notes. Mention the following bulleted information about each person if students don’t come up with it on their own. Have groups share with each other what they have learned.
- Spiritual leader of tibet
- Even though he’s super important, calls himself “a simple Buddhist monk”
- Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer
- became the leader of the nationalist movement against the British rule of India
- nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance
- known to his many followers as Mahatma, or “the great-souled one.”
- a Roman Catholic nun
- devoted her life to serving the poor and destitute around the world
- founded the Missionaries of Charity
- received the Nobel Peace Prize
- became a saint after her death
After having the groups share with each other, you can invite students to think about how they could be more like these mindful people they just learnt about.
Activity 2: Speaking/Vocabulary
Introduce the 7 things that mindful people do differently, and highlight that the people the students researched before are “mindful people.” Have the students discuss what connections they see between the people they researched and the 7 things mindful people do differently.
Retrieved from: https://edtechbooks.org/-DGUI
- Savor -- to enjoy something completely
- Forgive -- stop feeling angry at someone for something they did
- Gratitude -- being thankful
- Compassion -- seeing other people hurt or struggling and wanting to help them
- Imperfection -- something that is not perfect
- Vulnerability -- able to be harmed (physically or emotionally)
- Appreciate -- to understand and accept
Choose one word and write it vertically. For each letter, write a word or phrase that starts with that letter and relates to the word they chose in some way.
- In what ways do Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama do any of these seven things? Why does that make them mindful?
- Which one of these seven traits are you the best at? Which do you struggle with?
Once students have identified which trait they struggle with, invite them to think of ways they improve in that trait.
Activity 3: Writing
Have the students think of a situation that they are struggling with currently. It could be a person they don’t get along with, an argument they’re having or even something like struggling to learn English or with culture shock. The students are going to write for a few minutes about this in three different ways, giving a few minutes for each perspective. Assure the students that this is private, so they will not have to share and can feel free to write what they really feel.
- Have the students write their own personal thoughts and feelings about their situation, how they feel about themselves as well as about the situation.
- Have the students think about someone who loves them, be it a parent or friend or someone else. What words of encouragement would that person give? Have the students write for a few minutes about what they think their loved one would say to encourage them.
- Finally, challenge the students to think about one of the mindful people that have been discussed. Have them write what they think that person would do or advice they would give about the situation.
Finally, talk as a class or have the students talk to each other about the differences between the three perspectives. They do not have to say anything specific about their situation, just about how it felt or the differences that they noticed. (For instance which perspective was more forgiving and compassionate to the situation?)
Activity 4: Speaking/Writing
Have students choose a habit they have that is mindless (eating too much, biting your nails, getting angry quickly, ect.) and resolve to make it mindful. Have them make a plan to help, then write it down and share with a partner. For example, if the habit the student chooses is to become mindful of how often you look at Instagram, try moving the location of the app. This will give a few extra moments to think about whether or they want to look at social media, or whether they were looking only out of habit.
Tell the students that their homework for this week is to focus on working on the habit they chose in the previous activity. Remind them that the focus is to make a mindless habit mindful. Remind them to be kind and self-compassionate during the process of changing or quitting a mindless habit.
“Be happy in the moment, that's enough, each moment is all we need, not more.”
- Mother Teresa
Have the students take a minute to think about something that they are happy about right now. It can be something large, or it can be something that they usually would not notice. It can be something that already happened or that they’re looking forward to. The students will then share the good thing with a partner.
Invite students to share their thoughts and highlight any comment made by the students on positive emotion, gratitude, or how to stay focused on the present moment and avoid distractions.
“There can be no knowledge without humility and the will to learn.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Have the students discuss what this quote means. You can even introduce the meaning of the word will in this context. (Most students will probably recognize the word ‘will’ to express future but they may not know that it can also mean determination to achieve something). How can they apply it in their lives? How can they be mindful and stay focused on their will to learn and avoid distractions?
Follow up about the mindless habit.
- What habit did you decide to change?
- Have you seen a difference?
Remind them that change takes time and that sometimes noticing when you do something is the first step to changing it, so even if they haven’t seen a huge change encourage them to stick to it. Remind them to be kind and self-compassionate during the process of changing or quitting a mindless habit.
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