About mindfulness Case studies Education case studies Anaya Ali, 14, UCL Academy School, Camden, London When I first started mindfulness, I was 12, and I thought that it wouldn’t benefit me as much as they said it would. But the lessons always managed to settle my mind and made me feel better. Once mindfulness became clear to me I became used to it and tried it at home a lot more often. The main reason mindfulness means a lot to me now is that I have moments when I can become stressed easily or over-think things. I go to my room, sit there and remind myself what my teacher would say: “Focus on your breathing and be aware of what is happening now – ” Once I open my eyes everything seems to fix itself back into place somehow. I’ve been given advice like “go and revise, it will clear your mind”; or “do some school work”, but none of it works as well as mindfulness. It gives people the chance to look at everything from a different perspective, a better perspective. Personally, I would recommend mindfulness to anyone who struggles with the small things they come across. Not only can they calm themselves down using mindfulness, but it reduces the extra stress you create. Yogesh Patel, 46, teaches physics at Urmston Grammar, Manchester I’ve always been keen to please others, and my perfectionism went along with feelings of failure. Discomfort was the norm for me; I’d convinced myself that it made me a better person, but I wasn’t being kind to myself and that affected my teaching. Recently, the Academy asked for someone to attend an eight-week mindfulness course at a nearby school. After each session, I would rush back and tell my partner what I’d learned. Normally in teaching, we’re asked to engage with countless initiatives; but on the course, we were being asked to do less – and do it mindfully. It reassured me that you can’t get it wrong and that you can only get better with practice. This course suggested that pupils, too, might benefit from simply sitting, calmly and focusing on their breath. When I first tried it with my form, they said it was weird and that “was I trying to brainwash them?”! But they enjoyed it and asked for it more frequently. Since the course, I feel more peaceful, less agitated and more able to manage and respond to external demands. Mindfulness helps me approach tasks calmly, prioritise them and complete them with greater focus. I’m more willing to accept outcomes that don’t go my way and recognise when I am powerless. I try to take my time over things: to walk slower and not have hurried conversations. Whether it’s brushing my teeth or planning for work, I put all my energy into that one moment. The moment gets my full awareness and I try to see its richness.