Flint poised to become launch city for mindfulness initiative

Published: May. 14, 2019 at 4:55 PM EDT
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(05/14/19) -- Empathy, compassion, self awareness, and resiliency; they're all skills that fall under the umbrella of what's called mindfulness. And now, there's an effort underway to bring and teach those skills to leaders of the Flint community.

It's a highly sought program conducted by the Search Inside Yourself Institute, and even used by Google employees. And now Flint will become the launch city, serving as a blueprint for other communities to follow.

"It has taken off and it has expanded and now we're actually one of the first four cities in the country where the whole city is really embracing this concept of being mindful," said Pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha.

So what is mindfulness? Think of it as awareness of ones thoughts, feelings and perceptions and using that awareness in a healthy and constructive manner.

"It helps people with behavior management, helps with attention, helps kids in school, with focusing issues, there's less suspensions," she said.

The program, spearheaded by the Crim Fitness Foundation is not just for kids, but adults as well.

"We use really science based tools that build mental habits, that promote mindfulness and emotional intelligence," said Search Inside Yourself Institute CEO Rich Fernandez.

Around 150 leaders from across the city will take part in training exercises Wednesday and Thursday to gain a better understanding of mindfulness.

So how is is taught?

"Making it relatable, being able to use language and examples that are practical in real life, so people feel that its something that they can understand in the everyday-ness of what they do," said Michelle Maldonado, a certified teacher of the curriculum.

Crim Fitness Foundation CEO Gerry Myers says the program will be of great benefit to a city that continues to recover from the water emergency.

"People tend to be reactive and they escalate in situations, so these principles will help people calm down, be a little more responsive verse reactive," Myers said.

For more information on the Search Inside Yourself Institute, click on the 'related links' section on the right side or bottom of this page.