Mindfulness Strategies for Educators
As I set my goals for this year, increasing the use of mindfulness professionally and personally was at the top of the list. I attended a learning session about it at the character conference in Wisconsin this summer, and I left fired up about the possibility of being more mindful when my mind gets full. Mindfulness is not only a calm way to stay in the moment, but it has been shown to reduce the amygdala’s fight, flight, or freeze activity while increasing prefrontal cortex activity.
Then Hurricane Harvey happened here in Houston, bringing us eye-to-eye with a bigger and fiercer need than ever before to practice mindfulness in our school. Just this week, a post on Edutopia
explains how trauma in children affects teachers, too. And you don’t have to be in an area that is recovering, restoring, and rebuilding after a terrifying natural disaster to consider these strategies for infusing mindfulness into your daily rituals and routines.
A body scan can be done sitting up or lying down and doesn’t have to take much time. Basically, a body scan is an audit to see how you’re feeling physically. Try it with your eyes closed while you’re breathing deeply. Start with your toes. Wiggle them around. Take inventory of each and every one. How are they feeling? Then move to your feet and assess them one at a time. Are they tight or relaxed? Warm or cold? Then move to your calves, your knees, your thighs, all the way up your body. Where are you holding stress? And what might you need right now to let that go? Squeezing and releasing each muscle might help. Or try imagining that your toes have a pressure-release valve that you can open to flush those uncomfortable pains out as you bring in warm, soothing, calming thoughts and feelings.
on the Free Spirit Blog.