Teacher shares takeaway from mindfulness program
Christa Gifford, Glenbard South Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and Glenbard District 87 Wellness Committee chairwoman, shared the following takeaway: "Teenage brains are wired
|Christa Gifford (left) and Brenda Nelson|
Notes from Brenda Nelson's mindfulness program
Mindfulness and Social-Emotional Learning:
An Approach for Sailing the Rough Seas of Adolescence
Dr. Brenda Nelson, DSW, LCSW
GPS November 30th 2017
· Decided and was intrigued with mindfulness after a 2-year span of 5 student suicides and 2 staff suicides
· Background as a special ed social worker
· Bias that every kid could get individual help from some sort of PPS employee as the first few suicides she was associated with had had no sort of connection to a mental health professional
· “When we are stressed, the first thing to go is our breath.”
· Brain and the stress response
o Anxiety, Depression, Digestive Problems, Headaches, Heart Disease, Sleep Problems, Weight Gain, Memory and Concentration Impairment.
o Today’s Stresses:
§ Parents making comments about stress related to 4 year plans and naviance and college…
§ Academic, Social, Family
The Unique Adolescent Brain
· Older Adolescents “display greater stress-induced cortisol levels compared with individuals in late childhood or earlier stages of adolescence.
o Brains take things in as an extreme. i.e. parent yelling at student when in reality there is just a conversation going on that the student does not agree upon.
Social Emotional Learning
· www.casel.org (Social Emotional Learning and its definition)
o SEL is a hot bed in Dupage County
§ Good amount of SEL at the elementary level, less at the middle school level and even less at the high school level.
· SEL in Illinois Self-awareness, Social Awareness and Decision Making.
Mindfulness, including four central process
o Paying Attention
o In the present moment
o On purpose
o Without Judgment (doing it with a sense of curiosity)
· Secular Mindfulness
o Mindfulness based stress reduction –Kabat Zinn
o Since the 1970’s
o By far, most researched mindfulness program
o Health care, business, politics media and education
· What is the big idea?
o Changes the brain and strengthens the mind.
§ People who have meditated (a Buddhist monk) can control their brain unlike anyone who is not able to dedicate so much time to meditation
§ Where we typically function at is “auto-pilot” (hair conditioner, driving for 20 miles) habitual occurrences. Goal for mindfulness is to get out of auto-pilot and create those new pathways.
o Notice Thoughts and let them come and go. And that is OK! Remove the judgmental aspect. Many times, adolescents’ thoughts are even more intense than ours.
o Mindfulness of Emotions
§ “Riding the waves” Cultivating gratitude
· Mindfulness in schools
o Programs vs practices
o Research is compelling
§ BUT – Enthusiasm outpaces research
o Casel secondary guide off of their website
· How to go about implementation
o Core group of Admin, teachers and parents. (practice)
§ Go slow. Anything that is valuable, doesn’t happen overnight!
o Programs vs. practices
o Targeted vs. universal
· MBSR or other teacher prep – CARE for teachers
· Last core aspect
o Loving Kindness
· CAN WE….
o Ride the waves with the teens in our lives
o Prioritize our own well-being and calm
o Sit with unpleasant and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings
o Create time and space for quiet
· 40- day challenge
o can you take 10 minutes a day to put your tush in a cush…
· www.learning 2breathe.org