Mindful Awareness and How it Relates to the Classroom, Workplace and Family Life

Presented by Ken A. Verni, Psy.D.
View this webinar by clicking here

Dr. Verni discussed the training of mindfulness (paying attention on purpose) and gave us an experiential exercise. He explained that mindfulness is the opposite of being on autopilot, an really showing up for what is happening. Dr. Verni taught us that through the practice of mindfulness we can strengthen our ability to respond non-judgmentally rather than react in any given situation.


  1. KelleyT says:

    Talk a little on how mindfulness can be explained and utilized with younger children?
    Is there an age when this can be taught effectively and how long would it take to begin to see a difference?

    • Dr. Verni says:

      As I mentioned during the Q & A section of the webinar, one of the best ways to introduce mindfulness practices with younger children is for the parent or caregiver to start by developing their own practice and utilization of mindful awareness in their lives. As parents, we teach best by modeling the behavior we hope for. In addition as the parent slows down and gets more familiar with present centered awareness they may naturally find opportunities to invite their child into a similar place by calling attention to sensory experiences like the feel of the sun on your face or a cool breeze….any invitation to bring attention to the senses is a wonderful way to demonstrate to children that this ‘form of intelligence’–awareness–is just as valuable as ‘book learning’. So mindful awareness can be shared with children of any age really as long as it is adapted in a way that meets them where they are at developmentally. The book “The Mindful Child” by Susan kaiser Greenland is a great place to start to explore this question further.

  2. KelleyT says:

    Can you elaborate on some techniques that can be utilized to help manage impulses?

    • Dr. Verni says:

      Essentially, it really is the practice of mindfulness meditation itself that helps with impulses. Imagine that someone decides that for ten minutes every morning they are going to practice mindful meditation-sitting comfortably, bringing attention to their breath, noting when the mind wanders or some other element captures their attention and bringing attention back to the breath each time this occurs. They will have innumerable opportunities to notice impulses. Impulses to get up, to scratch an itch, to change position, to plan out their day, or re-work a conversation that they had etc. In the example of the impulse to scratch an itch, the person may notice the itch and bring mindful attention to it..not scratching immediately but instead paying attention to the desire that arises, the craving…even if just for a moment or two before mindfully moving their arm with awareness and scratching the itch and noticing the feeling of relief and satisfaction that arises. Much of our lives can be driven by desires, cravings and efforts to seek relief from uncomfortable sensations or feelings. So someone who decides to practice on a regular basis will have many opportunities to get to know these energies in a very different manner and in turn perhaps carry greater balance into their everyday lives.

  3. KelleyT says:

    Quote on one of the slides, something like – long as we are breathing there’s more right than wrong – so in mindfulness what part does a positive attitude play and how does that fit with someone who is depressed?

    • Dr. Verni says:

      I believe that in general, our everyday mind has a strong inclination towards noticing what is different or wrong with our surroundings- a biological leftover from times when our day to day survival was more precarious. So things that are working or stay the same tend to go unnoticed. Yet much of the beauty of the natural world around us is fairly consistent–like the blue sky, the wind or flowers and trees—so we often tune them out and forget to savor these things. And instead, we can become incredibly absorbed and preoccupied with our private dramas, judgments, and self-criticisms etc. The practice of Bare Attention returns us to a more engaged relationship with what is out there and can perhaps facilitate a more positive outlook. Thich Nhat Hahn, a wonderful teacher of mindfulness says it this way… “we can learn to appreciate our non-toothache”
      The research associated with Mindfulness practices and depression has demonstrated the participation in the Mindfulness-based stress reduction curriculum can have a significantly positive impact on preventing relapse for those with a history of major depression. Yet for someone in the midst of a depressive episode it can be very challenging to get enough ‘distance’ from the negative thoughts to observe them mindfully. As always, it is best to work closely with a mental health professional to determine what is the most appropriate course of action to take when trying to overcome depression.