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.
We all make them. Excuses. Especially when it comes to something for ourselves. This is written to my peeps. Yup, I said “peeps.” My tribe. My colleagues in the education industry. My - I’m just swimming enough to keep my head above water - fellow parents of young children.
Things are not easy right now. The daily grind is chaotic. Work is busy. Families are full of energy-because if your weather is anything like the weather here in Western NY, it’s been chilly and rainy for what feels like weeks, which means we are all a bit stir crazy!
BUT this is when we need to tune into ourselves the most. This is when we often have emotional reactions to things that are said to us. In the classroom, if students are short with us or are giving us attitudes, we may find ourselves mirroring a snarky response. When the kids are running in circles whining, “Mama, I want juice!” or “Daddy, I need my crayons!” and we are wondering where our sweet, well-mannered children have disappeared to, the simple tone of our response escalates out of pure annoyance. Or with our partners when they don’t get to unloading the dishes or changing over the laundry like you had asked help with, it’s flipping annoying. But, is the emotional reaction really worth the argument or hurt feelings that would likely follow? This is where the power of restraint - the power of mindful restraint - shines.
How do you cultivate the superpower of recognizing when it’s time to pause, observe, restrain, breathe and respond? Just sit. Everyday. Start with 3 minutes, then treat yourself to 4...5...10 minutes a day. There is no wrong way to give yourself the power of a sit. Focus on your breath, or the sounds around you. Repeat a mantra to calm your mind. Over time, research has proven that your brain will begin physically changing for the better to help you see the big picture more clearly and with more empathy. (For more information on how this is possible, check out this article from Psychology Today)
And before you creatively respond with something along the lines of, “I just don’t have the time right now. The kids have basketball everynight, it's conference and report card time, the holidays are coming...” Pause and think about that response. Is that an emotional reaction to the idea-an anxious reaction? I might have to say so... So, let's regain power. Take emotion out of the excuse and picture yourself sitting in a quiet space. Can you see it? If so, you can do it. Commit to yourself. Commit to your “peeps.” It’s a win for all involved!
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