Monthly SAP Newsletter

January 2021

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Mindfulness for the New Year

After wrapping up the chaos of 2020, start 2021 by slowing down and consider Mindfulness. The major tenant of Mindfulness is to be present and aware in the moment. Being present allows us to observe ourselves, increase self-awareness, decrease rumination, and increase our overall attention. Gains in these skills helps to enhance emotional self-regulation.


According to the American Psychological Association, engaging in regular Mindful Practices have been shown, among other benefits, to:

  • Reduce Stress
  • Reduce Rumination (replaying the same thoughts in our head)
  • Increase Working Memory
  • Increase Ability to Focus
  • Decrease Emotional Reactivity
  • Increase Flexible Thinking
  • Increase Relationship Satisfaction
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Mindful Practices for Families

As adults, the more we are able to be mindful ourselves, the more we are able to use mindful parenting strategies to help us be present for our children. Each day take some time to notice your own feelings, pause before responding and practice listening. Here are a few ideas from Mindful.org on how to become a more mindful family.


1) Embrace Imperfection- As parents we are going to make mistakes, have grace with yourself.


2) Listen with curiosity- Put yourself in you child's shoes and try to understand their perspective.


3) Communicate- Be clear and honest with each other about what you need.


4) Practice Gratitude- Acknowledge your kids if they help out and shift the household culture to one of appreciation.


5) Forgive ourselves and each other- Accept mistakes and remember none of us are perfect.


6) Practice support and kindness -Consider getting involved in service projects. Kindness acts are the healing agent in families and our world.


7) Remember to play and have fun- Life can be so busy and stressful. Make time for fun and enjoy being together.

Helping kids cope with stress

Mindfulness breathing exercises can help kids deal with stressful situations. Here are some breathing activities for them to try.


1) Belly Breathing-When you breath in, your belly expands. When you breath out, your belly contracts. Repeat several times.


2) Mindful breathing-Notice your breath and focus on how it moves through your body.


3) Teddy bear breath- Lie down and place a stuffed animal on you belly. Watch the animal as it moves up and down while you breathe.


4) Four square breathing - Breathe in for a count of 4, hold breath for a count of 4, breath out for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4. Repeat several times.

Mindfulness resources for kids

Books

My Magic Breath- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjQzFfv5HXs

I am Peace -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnR5HDfR3JI


Apps

Smiling mind

Mindful powers

Calm

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Guided meditation for kids

Beautiful relaxing music for stress relief

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Mindfulness in Education

There is significant research to support teaching Mindfulness in schools. Not only has it shown to increase a student's ability to regulate their emotions and reduce stress, it also has shown to increase their academic success. As explained by Positive Psychology, Mindfulness in education has found the following benefits:


  • Attention and Focus
  • Better Grades
  • More Effective Emotional Regulation
  • Better Behavior in School
  • Greater Empathy and Perspective Taking
  • Better Social Skills
  • Reduced Test Anxiety
  • Less Stress
  • Decreased Frequency/ Severity of Posttraumatic symptoms
  • Lower Rates/ Severity of Depression



Benefits do not stop with the Students. According to Harvard's Graduate School of Education, research has shown that affording teachers the ability to engage Mindfulness in education helps teachers


  • Improve Their Own Emotional Well-being
  • Helps Teachers Understand the Student Perspective
  • Frees up Teachers to be More Effective in the Classroom



Consider Using Mindfulness as a Catalyst for Professional Growth.



Mindfulness is highly adaptive. Activities can be tailored for any grade level, space or available resources. Below are links to activities by age group.


Mindful Activities for the Classroom:

51 Mindfulness Exercises for Kids in the Classroom

5 Minute Classroom Mindfulness Activities for Kids

10 Classroom Mindfulness Activities for Students



Here are Ted Talks discussing the value of mindfulness in education

Mindfulness in Education, Learning from the Inside Out: Amy Burke at TEDxAmsterdamED 2013
Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness | AnneMarie Rossi | TEDxYouth@MileHigh
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