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The Benefits of Mindfulness

The benefits of mindfulness

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So why practice mindfulness?  As we take time to be present to our experiences, and practice focusing on the present, we actually rewire our brains by creating new neural networks.  What are neural networks, you ask? When we learn behavior (how to swim, how to write the alphabet, how to drive a car) we create a neural network in the brain--neural networks, essentially, are neurons collecting signals from others and this creates an electric activity that creates connective branches in the brain. 

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Blue Ridge’s Footsteps Program Continues to Evolve by Enriching Family Involvement

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Blue Ridge first opened our Footsteps group for pre-teens in 2006, as one of the first wilderness therapy programs to work with this younger adolescent age group. It has always been developmentally focused to fit the needs of 10-14 year-olds, with an emphasis on nurturing these kids through every interaction. Our field staff balance supporting students through tasks while not rescuing them from what needs to be done. In this way, our students develop new skills while having the “safety net” of caring adults. We are a co-ed group led by co-ed field staff. This mirrors the traditional school setting where students develop their communication skills and build healthy relationships with peers and staff of different genders. These young students spend most days backpacking, but every ten days, they get to regroup and spend time at our hybrid base camp, called The Fort.

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Mindfulness: Getting Grounded in Wilderness Therapy

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Although you’ve probably heard that mindfulness is currently a therapeutic “buzz word”, it is truly a practice that has been around for thousands of years. It has its roots in both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, but also in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In addition to it being rooted in these religious traditions, it also has been embraced and popularized by secular institutions.

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