Tag Archives: Health

Free Meditation & Mindfulness Tool for Teachers

Mindfulness meditation is enjoying a moment in education. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice, mindfulness is “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique” and is often paired with meditation practices. Once viewed as a new-age fad, the benefits of mindfulness and meditation have be backed by science, which have found that it helps reduce stress and provides relief for a variety of ailments from insomnia to pain relief. You can find some peer-reviewed studies from the National Institute of Health. Additionally, Harvard recently published findings that brain scans show that the brains of meditators have more gray matter (linked to enhanced senses, increased memory, and executive decision making). 

Dharma_Primary_School_-_Children_Meditating_2015

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

With these findings, it’s no surprise that meditation and mindfulness are enjoying some attention in the education. KQED Mind|Shift has published a series of articles on the benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation practices in schools for both students and teachers. Also, Edutopia has published a series of articles to help introduce these tools in classrooms. Many educators are implementing these exercises to help students manage stress and anxiety, improve memory, and address behavior in their schools.

Several years ago, I came across mindfulness and meditation practices in a few educational conferences. It wasn’t until I had a series of stressful events that I listened to my friend Larry Kahn and decided to give it a try myself. It has now become a regular practice for me and I can attest to its benefits. Recently, I learned that one of my very apps (I am a paid subscriber), Calm, has implemented The Calm Classroom Initiative to help bring meditation and mindfulness to classroom across america.

After you are accepted into the Calm Classroom Initiative, they will send you “tips, suggestions, and best practices to introduce mindfulness to your classroom and get your students excited about meditation.” This is a great way to bring these resources for both you and your students. Please note that Calm has in no way provided me incentives (financial or otherwise) to promote their program. This is a personal attestation to the value of their tool.

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Agriculture & Civilization Caused Greater Health Problems & Lower Life-Spans

Any student who took Anthropology 101 with me should remember our lecture over the dawn of agriculture and civilization. In spite of thought to the contrary, civilization did not bring with it toilet paper and toothpaste. In fact, agriculture and its accompanying sedentary (vs nomadic) lifestyle had an extremely negative impact on our overall health, quality of life, and life-span.

Along with raising crops, the human diet became extremely limited – most early peoples lived on only two or three staple crops. Your grandmother was right, variety is the spice of life – limited food stuffs mean limited nutrients, vitamin deficiencies, and (with the rise of grain agriculture) a destruction of our dental health. When we look at the skeletons of early agricultural peoples, their bones are marred with distinctions of malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, dental caries (fancy word for extremely large and painful cavities), and we shrunk (several inches shorter than our hunter-gatherer counter-parts). We also worked a lot harder – both physically and in terms of hours.

For more on recent findings about this topic, check out this Science Daily Article.