Mindful Educators

Mindful Educators

 

 

 

 

Mindful Educators

Monday, June 15, 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Toledo Wildwood Metropark, Ward Pavilion

The Mind Body Health Associates team is preparing a day-long retreat designed to nourish the souls of educators while equipping them with mindfulness tools to allow them to grow personally and professionally. Use the day immersion into meditation and self-care tools to jumpstart your summer of flourishing so you can return to your classroom next fall well-versed in tools for self-regulation and social-emotional learning. Personal practice with these tools of movement, breathing, and mindfulness will shift your classroom and for teaching from the heart, to the soul.

Registration Details

Costs include all materials needed for the day and a nourishing lunch on-site. 

Early Bird Pricing

Individual $75
Team of 6 $400
*The MBHA team is glad to work with administrators for purchase orders; please contact our office for your specific needs by calling 567-525-3311.

After April 1

Individual $90
Team of 6 $400

Save your spot by emailing the office.

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Screen addiction and kids

Screen addiction and kids

by Holly Schweizer Dunn, LISW

Mind Body Health Associates practices mental health and treatment with a strong awareness of the role of trauma, specifically how the developing body and brain absorb experiences that develop into patterns for surviving.  These patterns may or may not later serve us positively in our daily living.  For example, addiction behaviors can be “helpful” in numbing pain and avoiding the full impact of painful life experiences; however, addiction also disconnects us from loved ones, damages our bodies and relationships, and leads to drain on family and community. With one eye on this philosophy, we ask, What is the long term effect of screen exposure for kids? How will their bodies and brains adapt to these experiences and later in life seek them out in different ways?

We know for certain that the earlier repetitive behaviors start, the more likely they are to become compulsive or addictive behaviors.  This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics advises limited screen usage early in life.  Even kid-friendly screen access is highly stimulating and, therefore, highly addictive.

As with any addiction, it’s not simply the presence of a problem behavior, but the replacement of positive life experiences with addictive behaviors that becomes the concern. The more kids limit real life relationships and maximize screen-centric relationships, the less developed their social skills become.  Eye contact, reading body language, and directly seeing the impact of your words on others are essential parts of communication and relational development that are impacted by screen usage. The more time kids spend in sedentary situations with technology, the less time they will engage with movement and nature, two keys to overall mental wellbeing that can help kids as they grow.

Ideally, with early exposure comes early parental monitoring.  As parents expose kids to screens at early ages, parents must also start the monitoring and education from the beginning.  Kids are growing up knowing about electronic responsibility, impact on the brain, need for limits and balance (The Schweitzer Dunn rule of thumb is 1 hour of screen time each day and/or at least equal amounts of screen vs outside and movement time daily ).  Just as kids learn family values from day one and these become inherent, screen awareness and health does so as well.
 
For a deeper dive into the world of kids and screen addiction, enjoy this teaching by Joe Dispenza.
 

 

 

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Curiosity and learning

Curiosity and learning

by Michele Minehart, Community Educator

When it comes to brain development, researchers and teachers are both finding that one of the best ways for learning to happen is through the process of inquiry. 

First, the brain enjoys curiosity, which creates a natural positive feedback loop to learning. With curiosity leading the way, the hippocampus lights up, paving the way toward a pleasure-reward circuit, attaching a hit of “feel good” dopamine. 
That positive sensation leads to a greater desire to return to the function of learning again, as the brain has a habit of repeating what the body enjoys. 
Second, curiosity – perhaps beginning with a thoughtful question – to catch a child’s interest opens the mind to receive more information, even that which isn’t directly related to a lesson or topic of conversation. When inquiry begins from a safe space of curiosity, rather than a stress-driven state that emphasizes a success/failure dichotomy, the brain associates positive emotion in the memory, helping the information to be more easily recalled. 
So the next time your 4-year-old leads you down a long-strung series of questions about the sky, aerodynamics, and birds, you can recognize that the learning that she is absorbing through questions and conversation are leading her to a place of greater understanding, not to test your trivia abilities on the topic of aviation. 

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Asking good questions

Asking good questions

by Michele Minehart, Community Educator

 

The Nobel prize-winning Jewish physicist Isidore Rabi once explained that his mother taught him how to be a scientist. ‘Every other child would come back from school and be asked, “What did you learn today?” But my mother used to ask, instead, “Izzy, did you ask a good question today?”’ (Source) There is divided opinion on if a person can ask a “bad” question, but it’s unanimous that some questions are better at bringing about thoughtful or rich responses.

If a person wants to get better at asking questions, specifically of herself, there might be a few practices that can help to grow in question-asking skill. For more thoughts on asking good questions, a podcast with journalist Dean Nelson on the power of inquiry and getting people – maybe even your own self – to open up.

  1. Start with Why. When confronted with a fact (or opinion), ask of it: why? The simple task of asking why rather than making assumptions will unearth a hearty soil for growing curiosity. Then move on to other investigative questions: What story do I hear? Is it true? What is my body trying to tell me? What can I accept in this moment? Who do I want to be in this moment?

  2. Don’t ask questions that will only be used to confirm a suspicion. Instead, find a way to allow the question to open the door to other observations and ideas. Instead of “Why didn’t you like dinner this evening?” ask, “What were you hoping for from your dinner this evening.” Assumptions hidden within questions narrow responses.

  3. Recognize that questions can accomplish both “information exchange” rather than “impression management.” HBR reports that spending more time asking questions actually lead to a more favorable experience of a person. Using questions reaches beyond simple information, paving the way for vulnerability – the seedbed of connection.

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Getting Curious

Getting Curious

by Michele Minehart, Community Educator

 

As the new year commences, many people use the fresh start to create new habits or work toward new goals. At Mind Body Health Associates, we want to support you in those endeavors. One element we believe can help sustain long-term growth and creation of healthy lifestyles is to arrive at any point of change with a spirit of curiosity, rather than approaching yourself with shame, fear, dread, or relying on inner strength and willpower.

This year the Mind Body Health Associates team is asking, what would happen if you approached your habits and lifestyle less with a spirit of judgment and more of one filled with curiosity?

The “sober curious” movement is gaining attention in mainstream media (like NPR and The Guardian) for its generous approach to leaving behind alcohol – a common resolution is to “drink less”. For many in recovery, the decision to get sober was one of life and death; the consequences of alcohol or drug use would take them down a path of complete destruction. For this reason, groups such as AA have been valuable resources for maintaining a path to sobriety and Landon Dunn, LISW, LICDC makes a regular practice of referring individuals to these programs. But for some people, they may not feel like they have a life and death problem with substances but they might also be hearing their inner voice prompt them to pay attention to consumption.

The sober curious approach simply says, what if you were to get curious about your relationship to alcohol? What if you didn’t make a decision today to abstain for the rest of your life, but rather gave space and time to explore the issue at hand? And when you remove the element of judgment for your personal response, you can keep shame at bay when you notice something that doesn’t fit with your personal values.

The sober curious approach can apply to many facets of life, one we’ll just call curiosity. You can be sugar curious, movement curious, even relationally curious.

  • What might it look like and feel like to take a break from sugar?
  • How might my body respond to different movement modalities?
  • What could our friendship look like if we became more intentional about how we spent our time together?
  • What would happen to our marriage if we shared a 5-second kiss each day?
  • What are my feelings about my daily work beyond measurements of “success”?

Here’s to a great year that asks questions of the bigger picture of what it means to live intentionally and getting curious about what a better life might look like.

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New Eating Habits for Kids

New Eating Habits for Kids

Transitioning Toward Nutrition

 

As the year progresses, the resolution to continue to move toward nutrition in family meals can start to wane. Rather than only inspiration, consider new habits to help carry your intentions. Therapist Holly Schweitzer Dunn, LISW, works specifically with individuals on food and body related issues and knows the benefit to keeping the body running on nutrient-dense foods while not approaching food in a way that creates a mind of “good foods” and “bad foods.” Instead, creating baseline healthy habits will help children grow into more adventurous and well-rounded eaters that listen and honor their body.

1. Start small:  add a spinach salad with dinner, put out cut veggies with other after school snacks
2.  Eat the rainbow:  This is a quick and easy reference to ensuring you get a full variety of nutrients every day. Make sure that your meals have color.
3.  Smoothies:  Easy ways to pack in veggies and fruits throughout the day.  Breakfast smoothies are portable (can drink them in the car on the way to school) and tasty enough for picky eaters.  Using whole milk (Probst Farm is a great source!) and honey makes a creamy, thick drink that tastes like a milkshake.  Throw in a handful of spinach and you get a serving of veggies that can not be tasted in the final product.
  • Milk, frozen mixed berries, honey, and hemp seed
  • Milk, frozen banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder and chia seed
  • Milk, frozen peaches and mango, yogurt, mint, honey, hemp seed
  • Milk, frozen strawberries, peaches and bananas, chia seed
4.  Use a food processor to help “hide” veggies in the food you typically cook.  Finely processing carrots, celery, zuchinni, onion, and squash as a base to tomato sauce, soup and casseroles thickens them and adds lots of important nutrients to recipes.
5.  Eat real food.  This means no artificial sweeteners, diet or low calorie, shelf stable items. Author Michael Pollen says that real food is that which your great-grandparents would recognize as foods. (They probably wouldn’t know what Cheez Wiz is).  If fresh veggies are too pricey or hard to manage, use frozen instead of canned as frozen are picked at the peak of freshness and maintain more of their nutritional value.
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