“The mind is just like a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can expand.” -Idowu Koyenikan
60 Seconds a Day for 60 Days...
What: Mindfulness Challenge
When: 60 seconds of mindfulness practice a day for 60 consecutive days
Our elementary school set out this year to develop our understanding and practice of mindfulness. We are discovering the power of mindfulness and we want to spread the love for it. Join us in ONE MINDFUL QUEST.
As a New York State public school, our state assessments begin on April 2. What if we could potentially strengthen the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain associated with higher order brain functions like awareness, concentration and decision-making and shrink the area (the amygdala) associated with fear and emotion and initiating the body’s response to stress? We have the potential to do this for ourselves and our students by committing to a minimum of 60 seconds a day, for 60 days. Research shows how the brain matter can physically change - that rewiring can occur - with 8 weeks of consistent mindfulness practice. Is more than a minute of mindfulness practice welcome, absolutely. But in an attempt to set a reasonable, attainable goal for groups, we are starting with a goal of 60 seconds. School, athletic teams, families...join us as we use our mind to change our brain, ultimately circling back to benefit the mind creating an infinite path of change. Our school is starting February 1, 2019 and wrapping up the challenge on April 1, 2019. You can join us, or start your own 60 day challenge!
Focus your attention on one thing, such as a sense or the breath. Keep it simple. We aren’t talking about full lessons on mindfulness but rather mindful minutes. Be strategic when incorporating the practice. Try not to make it one more thing to do but consider it as a way to arrive to a particular lesson or activity. For example, “let’s take a minute and tune into any one sound that is around us. Whatever sound your mind gravitates to, keep your attention on that specific sound. This could be a fan, the clock, a timer, a chime or bell...
Wonderful, now we are ready to begin learning about ratios.”
*Check out the 60 Seconds of Mindfulness Toolbox of Ideas on the Resource Page.
As you participate, notice how you feel before, during and after the intentional mindful minutes. How are you feeling as you go through your day, week, month? Share moments and/or feelings on social media using the hashtag #onemindfulquest and be sure to tag us on FB/IG @ahealthymindspace or Twitter @christylynnHMS.
Let’s do this, 60 seconds at a time!
© Healthy Mind Space and contributors 2019
Holiday Healthy Mind Space Challenge
Gift Yourself 3 Minutes a Day in December
Feeling stressed as we welcome December? Me too! A bustling holiday season is upon us. Our professional lives are ramped up as we tie up loose ends of 2018. And the energy of our kiddos is certainly heightened with the anticipation of holiday celebrations, gift exchange and family time.
So, how can we keep our emotions, attention and presence in check?
What if we tried 3 things, totaling just 3 minutes every day for 31 days...and we keep it simple? Would you be up for saving your sanity alongside me?
Your 3 Gifts…
AM Gift of Gratitude: Start each morning by writing 5 things you are grateful for. Don’t judge what you write, just write what comes to mind. Maybe it’s the laughter of your children or maybe it’s the coffee dripping into the pot. Whatever it is, welcome it and accept it. It came to your mind for a reason…;-)
Midday Gift of Peace: Gift yourself 1 whole minute (or more!) of mindful breathing or mindful listening midday. For instance, each day when you sit down for lunch, take a deep breath, close your eyes and just feel your breath. Feel it in your chest. Feel it in your belly. Feel it in your nose. Or tune into the sounds around you. Gift yourself that one minute opportunity to “reset” and recharge.
PM Gift of Love: End each day with an embrace with one you love-even if that is yourself. Share at least one reason why you love and appreciate the loved one. It sounds crazy, but so often we are too busy planning, looking ahead or looking behind that we miss what is right in front of us. Be intentional with the words in the moment. It may just help your body and mind rest a little more soundly.
That’s it! Three minutes to a Holiday Healthy Mind Space over the 31 Beautiful Days of December. Share your experiences with the hashtag #holidayhms
AM: Gratitude List
Midday: Just Sit
PM: Intentional Love
“There’s no waaaaay that I could ever be silent for an hour, let alone a day or three.” This was not only my response to the challenge presented by Mindful Schools, but the response of any one of my friends when briefing them of what I got myself into. As I embarked on this new adventure, my 6 day retreat in the Catskill Mountains to kick off the yearlong Mindful Schools Educator Certification Program, I did so with emotions all over the spectrum. Honestly, I thought the most difficult part would be driving five hours by myself (cars & sleep are like mac & cheese for me), but I found that to be surprisingly liberating.
Day 1 was welcoming, peaceful and HOT. The just accept the sweat and embrace the drip kind of hot. Day 2 we invited silence into our world. Silence in this particular environment meant no speaking, reading, writing, eye contact, body language or even holding doors. You are to be one with you, to explore within and your connection to nature. Basically, you are to ignore the 80 other adventurers around you, with the exception of the retreat guides who we had the pleasure to listen to from time to time.
As much as I could go on and on with details of inquisitiveness, boredom, humor, insights and self-love that occurred over the consecutive days of silence, I’ll keep it simple and hopefully meaningful for others. Silence is completely misunderstood. It is underrated in my opinion. I have ALWAYS been a do-er. If I wasn’t doing something, then I wasn’t making the most of my life. Or so I once thought. I bet many feel the same way! Up until recently, if I wasn’t producing something after a string of moments, I felt I was wasting the time that I was barely scraping together. But really, what I learned is that I have actually been missing out on important moments that can so quickly pass by. And catching the lessons in the moments that we are privy to.
From the grazing of leaves along the labyrinth, to the embracing shelter of 20 foot bamboo plants, swirling the most incredible locally grown produce in the mouth or listening with the heart to a powerful thunderstorm rock the mediation hall, insights were flowing. Was it a bit lonely at times? Of course. However, as electrifying as it was to come out of silence and connect with our tribe (the energy level was insane!), I found myself searching for a slice of silence within the first few hours. I yearned to create space in my mind; to create the intoxicating freedom that develops within silence. There is nothing like this addiction.
P.S. Are you wondering if most of us were prepared for the silent experience? Nope, not so much! The best way I can summarize the experience to anyone is by comparing it to running. It was as though my daily 10 minutes of meditation compared to running a 5K and the silent retreat a marathon. For this experience, I was trained for a 5K, but ran a marathon...just barely crossing the finish line. But as with racing events, the community vibes get you through. We found the same at this retreat and because of such powerful connections, would we do it again? 100%.
the blog space
I'm obsessed. This is fabulous. LOVE that you are doing this. The new way of being a student forces us to think outside the box and approach how we teach more dynamically.
~Derek, Father of 2 and Elementary School Principal
Just a girl with a dream to collectively build a healthy mind space for children, while creating a healthier mind space for ourselves.
Copyright Healthy Mind Space 2019