May 21, 2020 | Written by: Julia Turek
Categorized: Education and Skills | P-TECH
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I am one of the nearly 1.4 billion learners impacted by the global scale of the educational disruption from COVID-19, and while learning online at home with a new baby in our family, I’m also a part-time babysitter.
Like many students now engaged in online learning at home, retaining my focus in a house full of people juggling normal family to-dos is probably the most difficult obstacle to overcome. That’s why I turned to mindfulness. For me, it’s my sanity because life can be very chaotic and I think it’s important to tune into my body and just relax to help me better manage my stress and anxiety.
Though I have learned about mindfulness before, I never really dove in until I recently took a free IBM and The University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre online course called “Exploration into Mindfulness” on the new digital education platform Open P-TECH.
Throughout the course I learned about practices such as the power of breath, body scan, meditation, kindfulness and more. I also was surprised by the research backed studies, for example, a NCBI study finding that mindfulness improves memory and the ability to maintain focus in as little as five days after starting mindfulness practices. Or that mindfulness also boosts neurological development and increases gray matter density in the brain, regardless of age.
Open P-TECH was launched by IBM to equip young people and educators with foundational knowledge about topics like cybersecurity, AI and cloud computing, plus professional skills like design thinking and mindfulness. These are seen as keys to career preparedness. After completing the online coursework, it’s also fun to earn industry recognized “digital badges” to our resumes and social networks, demonstrating earned skills like mindfulness, as I apply for jobs or additional higher education.
Initially in this course, I found practicing mindfulness and finding inner quiet difficult since I often have lots of different things buzzing on in my mind. But now, I try to practice mindful breathing and body scanning 15 minutes at the beginning and end of my day and writing down my thoughts.
Since doing this practice, it’s been easier throughout my day to take a deep breath, look at all my thoughts and to-dos, and then organize them with clarity. I know I’m not the only one who could benefit and think mindfulness can help others gain the attention and awareness they’re looking for, both mentally and physically.