The Brightside: Mindfully Anchored
WICOMICO CO., Md. – In Wicomico County, one woman, Ashton Donoway, is teaching kids about mindfulness, a practice that involves grounding yourself in the present moment, and quieting your mind while noticing the sounds and smells around you.
Zaidem Hopkins-Simms, a third grade student said, “If we practice it more we can get better and better at it.”
Mindfulness is proven to reduce stress and anxiety and improve brain function.
Donoway said, “I feel like it really helps them a lot.”
A big part of being mindful involves focusing on your breath, something Donoway calls your anchor. Donoway started a non-profit called Mindfully Anchored Inc. back in 2014 after she noticed how much mindfulness changed her own daughters life.
“She has ADHD but I medicated her and there was I point that I decided that maybe she could do something different,” she said. “When I started to practice some of these things with her, I didn’t feel she needed the medication anymore.”
She thought if mindfulness could help her daughter, maybe it could help others too.
Donoway now teaches mindfulness to about 650 students across Wicomico County each week, and she has her students practice mindfulness not only in the classroom, but in their own personal lives as well.
Maya Curry, a student said, “When I’m sad or mad, I take my deep breaths.”
Hopkins-Simms said, “So when were angry, we can do some mindfulness so that we can be calm.”
If you ask Donoway’s students, they’ll tell you mindfulness has made all the difference in their lives.
Curry said, “I’m more calm.”
So whatever hardships these kids face in life, they know they can always come back their breath, also known as their anchor.