5 Minutes to Start the Day ~ Mindfulness Sessions at ARCH

Dogs whose job is to play cool games at ARCH!
March 30, 2017
Staff Spotlight: TJ Geist Anderson
March 30, 2017
Did you know that as part of our STEPS to Health & Wellness program our participants do mindfulness sessions every morning at ARCH? Attendance is optional, but many participants attend the 5 minutes a day session every morning and some attend the longer session (combined with Yoga) on Tuesday afternoons.

Mindfulness is much like meditation, but with an emphasis on being in the present moment. Mindfulness “exercises” help to focus the mind and also act as a de-stressor. There are many studies that have been conducted and show that mindfulness helps people with Autism, ADD, and ADHD especially helping in relaxation and focus. It helps practitioners learn to deal with the stimuli of “this moment” rather than perseverating on things that have happened or fearing things to come. For people who are overwhelmed with stimuli from the past, present AND future it is essential to learn to filter out everything that is not in this moment. With regular practice many of the practitioners have been able to better communicate, focus and deal with the stress of external stimuli whether real or perceived.

TJ Geist Anderson, our STEPS to Health & Wellness Coordinator said “We want to help our participants achieve a better quality of life and this includes health and wellness. They often get a lot of focus on improving their physical fitness, and we do that, but we wanted to look also at their mental health and how to improve their self-esteem and fulfillment and help give them the tools to face their lives. We have been doing mindfulness now every morning for 9 months and I can honestly say we have seen small shifts in those participants that attend. They say “We need this today” and they tell me they’ve missed doing it if I’m ever off work. From their own perspective they are starting to make the connections, seeing that just a few moments of breathing meditation can help them calm down when they are upset.”

Quotes from our Participants:

“I have learned how to meditate and how to not get in trouble."

“I’ve learnt how to be calmer. I used to be called ‘fast Eddy’ and that was scary! ARCH has calmed down my anger. If anything was what I didn’t want, I’d react to that, before. My coping skills are now better. When I think of ARCH I think ‘3 deep breaths – it works!"

“I like it because it helps me calm down…keeps me relaxed …not jumpy.”

“I find it very relaxing…makes me efficient…clears my mind.”

“I think this is helping. I practice in bed, at home, at night. It helps me relax and go to sleep. Sometimes take 3 hours for me to go to sleep, but this is helping with my sleep patterns.”

“It calms me down because sometimes I get mad.”

“Serenity. Peacefulness. When I breathe and the breaths are deeper, I calm down. I can get wound up without knowing it. And the breaths allow me to let go.”

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