“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
and how to keep it simple!
Many of us start out on the path to exploring mindfulness by asking friend after friend, reading online and jumping from one book to another to learn as much as we can...often ending up with a pile (of usually fantastic, yet overwhelming) resources. I know that was my case! So, I am going to try to keep it simple for ya’ll and offer up some of my favorite ways to kick off mindfulness for yourself - and your kids.
First, gain a basic understanding of what mindfulness is. Mindfulness is a present-level awareness of what is happening within your body (emotions) and around you (your presence in the environment) at any given moment-and accepting that moment without judgement. Jon Kabat-Zinn is THE man who created this secular concept called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction back in the late 1970s out of UMass. Much of what you read connected to him will offer you more understanding on the brain training of mindfulness and the science behind its power. He’s simply brilliant and I will be forever grateful for his non-religious offering to our society.
Here are a couple straightforward (less than 5 minute) articles to give you an overview:
Tech-Free Ways to Begin…
Resources to Borrow or Purchase…
Videos to Relax With...
Insight Timer, Simple Habit, Headspace, Calm, Smiling Mind
Note: I do not receive any commission for these recommendations. These are solely my opinions based on personal and professional experiences.
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
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