Last week I spoke at an Early Childhood Education conference in Edmonton. Mindfulness served as the central theme for their event. And, as you might imagine, the practice of pausing for renewal and pausing to be more thoughtful, for which I’m known, fit right in.
It was a bonus for me to be able to sit in on a couple of other sessions, and I was intrigued to learn more about a new school-based program called MindUP. The program gives young students the tools they need to manage emotions and behaviors, reduce stress, sharpen concentration, and grow empathy and optimism. Sounds like something adults could use, too!
Two elements form the foundation for the program. Students are first introduced to basic brain science. They learn how stressful situations trigger natural defensive emotional reactions which shut down access to the thinking part of the brain. They are then taught to take charge of their brain and their behavior (to gather themselves) through the art of mindful breathing.
Breathing is presented as a way to settle the mind and the emotion – to sidetrack those ‘run away train’ feelings – so they can access the thinking part of the brain, the Prefrontal Cortex. Daily practice sessions (morning, midday and end of day) consist of three minutes of quiet, focused mindful breathing.
MindUP is showing strong results in developing emotional maturity (less anxiety and more calm), social relationships (greater empathy for others), and academic performance. And, the kids who see how well this works in their own lives are teaching their siblings and even their parents how to calm down and get a grip! How cool is that?
Action: Give it a try yourself this week. Before you start your workday, sit quietly for three minutes and pay attention to your breathing.
As your mind scurries around trying to distract you (and it will), simply notice what comes up (without judgment), and bring yourself back to your breathing.
Try it again after lunch, and a third time near the end of the day. Stick with it all week long and see what happens.
It’s a simple practice with significant impact!
Quotes Of The Week: If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. – Amit Ray
Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t). – James Baraz
Resource Of The Week: Here’s a great article by Nicole Wolfe on: How To Stay Focused, Calm & Productive.
This link will give you more info on the MindUP program.
Audience Writes: In recent years, I’ve made it a practice to share with you Reader Comments on previous Pause messages. You all see what I write, but some of you have never seen me speak. So this week, for a change of pace, I thought I’d share a sampling of comments from recent audience members – reactions to a Hidden Value keynote I delivered last month at a Professional Development day for public school employees. Here’s what they had to say:
This is something I will use in all aspects of work and life. I leave feeling refreshed. One of the best PD sessions I have been to. I never looked at my watch once! You made my morning go from great to amazing!!
Engaging. Relevant. Interesting. Warm. Welcoming. Thought provoking. Very animated. NOT BORING! Funny. Motivational. Knowledgeable. Entertaining. Uplifting. Dynamic. Informative. Humorous. Relatable. Affirming. Inspiring.
Makes you see the value in yourself and what you do. Pat is passionate about life and longs for people to know their worth.
If you’ve ever thought about bringing me in to work with your organization, I’d welcome the opportunity. Just give me a call and we can chat about how I can be of help in getting the results you’re after. You can reach me at: 877-728-5289.
28 Days … 28 Gifts Update: As you know, for the entire month of February, Pause readers were invited to submit the names of individuals they wanted to appreciate with the gift of the Take A Bow booklet.
75 names were submitted, and 28 personalized booklets are on their way to each of the lucky subscribers to present to their honorees.
What wonderful stories you shared about the deserving nature of the recipients you had in mind.
Remember, any time is a good time to let someone know how much you appreciate who they are and what they do!
Tags: attitude, burnout, communication, Edmonton, excellence, focus, health, mindfulness, overload, overwhelm, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, productivity, Saskatoon, speaker, stress, success, wellness