Teachers work to achieve "Mindfulness" in 8-week class - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Teachers work to achieve "Mindfulness" in 8-week class

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of teachers spent much of their winter practicing how to be mindful. 

Mindfulness is "paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and without judgment," said Lisa Flook of UW-Madison's Waisman Center. 

"The idea is we're really aware of whatever experience is happening at the moment," she said. 

The 18 teachers that participated in an eight-week class practiced yoga, meditation and other exercises to boost their mindfulness. 

Britt Kloehn, a teacher at Madison's Lincoln Elementary School, said the class helped her cope with the daily stresses of being in the classroom. 

"In the classroom, you're dealing with human beings that aren't always in control of their emotions," Kloehn said. "Especially at certain ages, (students) are not always aware of how their responses are interpreted." 

"The mindful awareness helps you strike that balance because you can compartmentalize and separate your emotions and you're waiting to react to a situation," she said. "It can help you calmly respond to a situation." 

Flook said the key to being mindful is focusing on what you're doing. For instance, when going for a walk in the afternoon, practice thinking about the walk. Don't let your mind float off.

"When you ask people, during the day, 'what are you doing? What are you thinking about?' A lot of times their minds are off and not thinking about what they're doing in the moment," Flook said.

Kloehn said mindfulness is "harder than (she) realized."

"It takes a lot of patience and a lot of compassion to really be mindful," she said.

But she added the exercises she learned at the Waisman Center have helped her to reduce stress both at home and in the classroom.
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