Mindfulness – Practicing Mindfulness as School Ends, A DBT Perspective 

By Vanessa Hernandez | May 14, 2024

It’s natural to look forward to summer and the end of the school year with excitement and plans for what to do during that time. However, for some people, boredom can feel daunting and lead to negative emotions. Boredom can be uncomfortable, especially if we struggle with ruminating over that feeling. Mindfulness can be a helpful practice in managing boredom and other challenging emotions. By cultivating mindfulness, individuals can develop greater awareness of their internal states and external surroundings. This awareness enables them to observe their thoughts and emotions without judgment or immediate reaction.

When faced with boredom, mindfulness can offer several benefits:

Increased Awareness: Mindfulness helps individuals become more attuned to their thoughts and emotions as they arise, including feelings of boredom. This awareness can prevent automatic or destructive reactions to boredom. Non-Judgmental Observation: Mindfulness encourages a non-judgmental stance towards one’s experiences, including boredom. Instead of labeling boredom as bad or unpleasant, individuals can observe it as just another passing state of mind.

Choosing Responses: With mindfulness, individuals can choose how to respond to boredom. Rather than impulsively seeking distractions or engaging in unhelpful behaviors, they can respond with intention and purpose. Engagement with the Present Moment: Mindfulness emphasizes being present in the moment. When feeling bored, individuals can practice being fully present in their current activities, even if they seem mundane or routine.

Exploring Curiosity: Mindfulness encourages curiosity towards one’s experiences, including boredom. This curiosity can lead to a deeper understanding of what triggers boredom and how to address it constructively. Incorporating mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, or simply paying attention to the present moment can be beneficial in managing boredom and related emotions. By cultivating mindfulness, individuals can develop a more balanced and resilient approach to handling various emotional states, including boredom, during the summer break and beyond.

At Hillside, mindfulness is incorporated in various ways, such as DBT, recreational groups, and individual and family therapy. Mindfulness eases one into the session and have a sense of grounding before speaking up about something. Mindfulness also does not need to be done alone in the present moment. Everyone can participate and incorporate their own ideas. 

When it comes to mindfulness, DBT has the following skills: WHAT and HOW. The WHAT surrounds observing, describing, and participating in the moment. The WHAT skill offers structure on what is needed to be done in the present moment. The WHAT skill helps us discover various ways of putting into play “what” one needs to do in the moment to take control of their mind. Observing: This involves being aware of your internal experiences (thoughts, feelings, sensations) and external surroundings without judgment. It’s about noticing what is happening in the present moment.Participating helps one live in the moment. Describing: helps put your observations into words. It’s about labeling and articulating your experiences without adding interpretations or evaluations and Participating: means fully engaging in the present moment without being distracted by past regrets or future worries. It’s about being actively involved in your experiences. The WHAT skill provides a structured approach to being mindful and present. It encourages you to notice and understand you experiences, which can be particularly beneficial when you trying to address challenges or make positive changes.

The HOW skill encompasses non-judgmentally, one-mindfully, and effectively. Non-Judgmentally: involves letting go of judgment and criticism towards oneself and others. It’s about accepting experiences as they are without labeling them as good or bad. One-Mindfully: One-mindfulness is about focusing one’s attention on one thing at a time. It’s the practice of being fully present with whatever you are doing, giving it your full attention and engagement.

During the summer or when there’s a break from routine (like the end of school), it’s common to get caught up in thoughts about the past or worries about the future. These distractions can lead to dissociation or increased anxiety. Practicing mindfulness, specifically focusing on the present moment and using effective strategies (HOW skills), can be grounding and reassuring. By staying non-judgmental, being fully present, and taking effective action, you can manage anxiety and cultivate a sense of control and well-being. Remember, mindfulness is a skill that takes practice. Regularly incorporating these skills into your daily life can help you build resilience and cope more effectively with life’s challenges.

Author

Current Version
May 14, 2024
Written By: Vanessa Hernandez
Edited By: Angie Hoke
May 14, 2024
Medically Reviewed By: Angie Hoke