Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer 2017 Office Hours

Both offices will be closed this summer the following weeks:

June 19
July 3
July 10
August 7
August 14
September 4 

Thank you and Have a great summer!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mindfulness in the Classroom

What is mindfulness?

The conscious and purposeful way of tuning in to what is happening around you right now. The meaningful act of paying attention and honing awareness of your environment.

Why be mindful?

Benefits of Mindfulness For Teachers:

o   Improves focus and awareness
o   Increases responsiveness to student’s needs
o   Promotes emotional balance
o   Supports Stress management and reduction
o   Supports healthy relationships at work and at home
o   Enhances classroom climate
o   Supports overall well-being

Benefits of Mindfulness For Students:

o   Supports “readiness to learn”
o   Promotes academic performance
o   Strengthens Attention and concentration
o   Reduces test anxiety
o   Promotes self-reflection and self-calming
o   Improves classroom participation by supporting impulse control
o   Provides tools to reduce stress
o   Enhances social and emotional learning
o   Fosters pro-social behaviors and healthy relationships
o   Supports holistic well-being

How can it done and or improved?

  •                 Decide to do it
  •                 Carve out some time in your day. Start with 5 minutes.
  •                 Choose a mindful activity that you can realistically do
  •                 Practice
Methods of Developing Mindful Awareness For Yourself

                Sitting still.  Pay closer attention to yourself. When was the last time you were able to just sit still? Pop Culture has been designed to seduce us into searching outside ourselves for happiness and satisfaction.

                Understanding Bare Attention.  We have a constant murmuring in our minds... “I like this... I don’t like that... he hurt me... she’s nice... etc.” We are keeping our pleasure principle operating, which tends to be a selfish-childish protagonist. The pleasure principle in psychology is our instinctual seeking  of pleasure and avoiding pain to satisfy our psychological needs, specifically our ID.  By developing Bare Attention, we create a clear single-mindedness awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the moment of perception. We objectively observe and develop exact registry of the moment.

                Diminishing Reactivity:  To develop diminished reactivity or to control your reactivity, you need to separate your reactions from core events. When our actions are automatic, we are at the mercy of a hostile world.

o   Instead of running from difficult emotions, make space for them and feel them. Process and accept them instead of reacting to them and perpetuation them.

o   Move yourself from reactivity to a non-judgmental awareness of growth and flexibility.

o   Allow yourself to feel... and heal.

Take 5: Mindful Breathing  (Yogic Breath: Simple)

  1. Sit comfortable with abdominal muscles relaxed and straight back, close eyes
  2. Slowly inhale through the nose for 4-6 seconds
  3. First filling the lower belly (activating the 1st and 2nd Chakras)
  4. Then filling the lower rib cage (the 3rd and 4th Chakras)
  5. And finally the upper chest and throat (the 5th and 6th Chakras)
  6. Hold breath
  7. Exhale
Intention and Attitude:  Set, Notice, Return, Do, Acknowledge….

Set a daily intention (or visualization) that you’d like to achieve. Make sure it is realistic

Notice your experience through the day while recalling the intention you set.

Return to your intention

Do Something. Choose to actually do something to support your intention.

Acknowledge. Reflect on the change you made and how you supported your intention

Methods of Teaching your Students to be Mindful

Do as I do. If you practice mindfulness, they will.  If you are calm, your students will instinctively move to their own sense of calmness. This reciprocity and attunement with students support their development and contributes to their social and emotional learning and competency.

Help them transition into the learning mindset when they enter the classroom by redirecting their attention away from their own preoccupations and activities in attracting their interest with something else.

o   Signal you are ready to start class by flickering lights, or making a sound, or a clapping call and response sequence
o   Take out something fascinating to look at and invite students to examine it
o   Read a poem or music lyrics
o   Pose a riddle and engage students in solving it

      Japanese Koans are good for this. A Koan is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.
                                ~ What is your original face before you were born?
                                ~ When you can do nothing, what can you do?
                                ~ What is the sound of one hand clapping?
                                ~ When the many are reduced to one, to what is the one reduced?
                                ~What is the color of wind?
o   Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything By Deborah Schoeberlein

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

And... They're OFF!... Reprised...

As the promise of the next season wafts in on the cooler breeze of September, children and teenagers place new notebooks and pencils into backpacks, looking sharp in their carefully thought-out first day of school outfits and excitedly march into the next chapters of their lives.

I always find this time of year to be bittersweet. I do love the long luxurious days of summer, but I find the beginning of a new school year exhilarating. Although my kids would never admit it, I think they do too. It's a chance to start anew, a clean slate. But transitioning from one season to another can be stressful regardless of how much we prepare ourselves and our families for the change.

All too often we are so focused on getting our children prepared for the new school year, we forget to prepare for the effect this transition will have on us. We help them with their goals and plans  and neglect to make any for ourselves.

So what type of things should we strive for this new school year for ourselves? Well, I'm glad you asked... here are some ideas:
  • Incorporate some stress-relieving activities within your day or week. Take a yoga class or a dance class. Be sure to set time aside for yourself to do something fun that is going to make you feel great. How about taking an art class or ceramics with a friend?
  • Take some time in the morning for yourself. Mornings can be chaotic with kids and parents getting ready to go to school and work. Why not wake up a half hour earlier and enjoy a few quiet moments for yourself? Drink your coffee or tea outside, meditate, or just spend the time appreciating all the wonderful blessings in your life. The point is to get yourself centered, and start your day grounded. 
  • Plan some activities for your family to do together in the future. It's always fun to look forward to something, so put something on your horizon. Plan a visit to a local farm to pick apples, or maybe visit a zoo.   
  • Line up a babysitter if you don't already have one. We give so much to our kids each and everyday but it's important to have some adult time together with your spouse. It's a lot easier to plan a night out when you have a babysitter ready to help. My kids love our babysitter, and will often ask us to go out so they can spend time with him.. SURE!!!
  • Make some gentle goals for yourself.  I say gentle goals because they shouldn't be ones that are going to add stress to your life. Nothing like, run 10 miles a week or read 10 novels... How about trying some healthy new recipes or teaching your kids how to fold laundry :) or keeping a journal?
Change always brings with it a necessary measure of stress. I urge you to take some time out for yourself and think about what you need to do to make this transition peaceful for yourself.

You deserve it.

Happy September.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Such a great quote, I had to share.

And about our power of healing...

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

Friday, June 6, 2014

40 Ways to Love Yourself

1. Understand that you do not have to be perfect to be successful. Stop trying to be perfect and stop criticizing yourself for being less than perfect. You are a work in progress. We all are.

 2. Give yourself a break. Allow yourself the same understanding you would allow others. We are usually far easier on others than we are on ourselves.

 3. Do not accept others’ unreasonable expectations of yourself. Don’t allow others to heap onto you their unreasonable expectations. Shake them off.

 4. Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone on this earth is unique. We all have different gifts. Even those who seem similar have vast differences.

 5. Focus on your own strengths. Get to know yourself, and discover what your gifts are. You have unique talents that are meant to be shared with the world.

6. Practice gratitude. Recognize and be happy for what you have. Gratitude keeps your heart open to love.

7. Be who you really are. In order to love yourself, you have to stop loving the person you wish you were and love the person you actually are. Be the person that you are and learn to love yourself just like that.

8. Take things one step at a time. Break things down into manageable steps and know that you can only do one of these steps at a time. If you are still overwhelmed, break them down more. Stay in the moment.

 9. Have faith in your process. Give yourself time. Progress doesn’t always move along the way we think it should. Know that with every little step you take, and with every positive thought you hold you are moving toward a healthier you.

10. Let go of past events. You deserve a fresh beginning. We all do. Acknowledge and accept your feelings about your past, and put them where they belong… behind you.

 11. Cherish the lessons learned from your challenges, and appreciate that they have helped you grow. See the positive aspects this growth has made in your life.

 12. Forgive those who have done you wrong. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean you approve or accept what they have done to you. It means you are releasing the negative hold their actions had on you. It is something you do for you.

13. Forgive yourself. Don't punish yourself for something you have done in the past. We do the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time. Mistakes just indicate we didn’t have the knowledge at the time to do things differently and now we do.

 14. Define yourself by your effort, not just your accomplishments. The journey is the thing.

 15. Celebrate your accomplishments. Remind yourself regularly of all you CAN do.

16. Let go of the things you haven't done yet. Concentrate on the task at hand. Don’t consume yourself with what you still need to do.

17. Accept yourself, and others will follow your lead.

18. Stop saying bad things about yourself. Don't beat yourself up. It’s a useless endeavor that just takes away from your self-worth and growth. So don’t do it. Reject it.

 19. Let yourself off the hook for not knowing all the answers. We are all trying to figure out how to navigate this world and we all have a lot to learn.

20. Nurture yourself. Set up some time to be by yourself, just by yourself. Do something that gives you peace, love, and joy with yourself. You deserve it.

21. Treat yourself like you treat your very best friend. How would you treat your very best friend? Become your own very best friend.

22. Give yourself compliments. Remind yourself of all the good things you have done and tell yourself how truly amazing you are for doing them.

 23. Know your boundaries, and listen deeply to your needs. Acknowledging your needs does not make you selfish. It makes you stronger and able to offer more of yourself to others.

 24. Always be kind and gentle with yourself. Silence any harsh inner voice that is critical. It serves no purpose.

25. Express yourself. Self -expression allows you to embrace the best and worst parts of yourself and come to a better understanding of who you are and what's important to you.

 26. Keep a journal. Write about your experiences, good and bad. When you write down good experiences, allow yourself to feel those feelings. When you remember bad experiences, allow yourself to feel self-compassion. Compassion is not self-pity, but rather willingness to be present/accept with one's own pain and regret.

27 . Do what you love. Make yourself happy. What do you love to do? If you could find something that you love to do and spend time doing it, you will experience love, joy, and happiness in your heart. That is when you truly connect with your authentic self.

 28. Embrace your feelings. Emotions are nothing more than internal experiences which contribute to who we are. It’s okay to feel. The more we try to avoid feeling our emotions the more they end up overwhelming us. 

29. Remind yourself regularly that you deserve care because you do. We all do.

 30. Believe in yourself. Believe that your efforts will always yield positive results, even in the smallest measure.

 31. Put positive statements up some places where you will see them each and every day. Read them out loud, every day, at least once, ideally at least ten times each time you notice one of them.

32. List your best qualities. Start a list of all the things you love about yourself, and add to it every day.

33. Practice receiving love. To truly love is to be able to receive it. When someone loves you, does some kind deeds to you, says kind words, gives you gifts, or gives you compliments, embrace it.

 34. Allow yourself to feel the love that has come your way. Know that you are worthy of love.

 35. Accept a gift of love by others. You give yourself a chance to learn more about yourself, and that you are lovable. You give someone a joy of giving by loving you.

36. Say “I love you” to yourself. Let that love fill your heart. Receive that love that you give to yourself unconditionally, and love yourself "as is".

37. Share yourself. Bringing joy to other people's lives will help you find joy in your own. In addition, those that you treat well will likely repay you with the same kindness. Gradually, you will start to feel your worth through the smiles of gratitude.

 38. Create goodwill and thankfulness by practicing random deeds of kindness.

 39. React to situations in a healthy way and learn the coping skills to do so.

40. Be a self-advocate and don’t be afraid to say NO when you do not feel like doing something. You have the right to do so.