compassion, Mindfulness, Mindset

How To Make Lasting Changes In The World : Advice from Mahatma Gandhi & Leo Tolstoy

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

-Leo Tolstoy

Humans have this desire to change the world.

To make a difference. To have an impact. To leave a legacy.

It is human nature.

We Think BIG!

Make plans on a grand scale.

We see all the suffering and devastation in the world and we look to outer sources to solve those problems.

We think the answer lies outside of ourselves.

But, What If The Answer Lies Within?

What if we can take the steps to change our inner world in order to make improvements in our outer world?

The Inner World is a Reflection of our Outer World.

The world is a mirror.

It reflects back to you what you put out to it.

Consider the kind of energy you carry around on a daily basis.

The energy of your emotions, your thoughts and your feelings…

Energy is Everywhere.

Whether we see it or not.

Our personal energy has the capacity to influence those around us.

It influences individual energies.

And it influences global energy.

Change Your Vibration To Change The World!

Look within.

What kind of energy do you carry?

Is it world-changing energy?

Is it the kind of energy you hope to see in others?

If it is, you’re on the right path!

This is how we change the world.

To make a difference. To have an impact. To leave our legacy.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

YOU, my friend, CAN change the world…

With your energy…

With love,

Miss T.

Education, Kids, Mindfulness, Mindset, self-development

Tim Ferriss or Eckhart Tolle? How About Neither! Why Picture Books Are The Best Form of Self-Education.

Self-Education – My favourite kind of education!

If you’re like me, you turn to a good book when you’re looking for answers.

We reach for the newest Self-Development, Spirituality, Finance or Business book on the shelf. Then, down it like a glass of ice-cold water on a hot day.

Books like:

  • The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
  • Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Or the classic: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill

I’ve read all of these books.

I learned something from each of them.

But let me tell you, none of these books were as impactful as the children’s picture books I’ve read…

Picture Books For Adults.

While picture books are written to entertain children, I am convinced that they are actually designed for adults.

The lessons to be learned in a good picture book are just as important for us to digest.

Why?

The thing is, adults get corrupted by life. We get lost along the way.

We have busy lives, stressful jobs, and needy families.

The magic of simplicity and childhood gets tossed aside.

Forgotten.

We only have time to focus on the “grown up” stuff.

We forget to nourish our inner-child.

Picture Books Pack a Punch.

All it takes is a 5 minute picture book to get whacked in the face with a heart-warming lesson. It hits us right in the feels

We learn about life. We learn about ourselves.

They make us think:

“Oh right… that IS important… I should value that more…I should make more time for that…”

They bring us back to our inner-child.

Our Brains Love Stories.

A human’s brain is wired to digest and break down stories.

We analyze them and search for the meaning behind them.

Kids’ brains do this. Adults’ brains do too.

Think about it…

The hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt…

… Drawn-out stories!

The tales from Indigenous groups…

… More stories!

Classic moral-inducing fables…

…. All stories!

Stories Are Human Nature.

It’s how we make sense of the world.

So, the next time you’re reaching for the newest self-development or non-fiction book… I challenge you instead… to grab a picture book!

You never know what lessons you’ll find…

Or what lesson will find you!

With love,

Miss T.


Mindful Miss T’s Recommendation of the Day!

Maybe

By Kobi Yamada

A BEAUTIFUL picture book (That I am convinced is written for adults too!) about the endless potential in us all.

I received this book as a birthday gift last week and it reminded me of my purpose and reason for being here on this Earth. It reminded me that everyone has their own purpose. That everyone is here for a reason. Whatever that reason may be. And it is up to us to share our purpose with those around us. That WE are capable of anything.

Education, Health / Wellness, Mental health, Mindfulness, Mindset, Stress / Anxiety

Kids Keeping You On Your Toes? How to Find Mindful Moments In You Day Even If You Just Don’t Have The Time

“If only I had more time…”

“My schedule is packed…”

“My plate is just too full…”

These are some of the things I hear often when people answer the question:

“Have you practiced mindfulness with your kids today?”

Whether you’re a parent or a teacher… I get you…

Time is a hot commodity that we are always running out of.

Your hands really are full – You’re busy wearing ALL the hats, and doing ALL the things.

BUT, I want to share a secret with you…

You DO Have Time for Mindfulness!

Listen,

When we hear the word mindfulness, we assume we need to carve out a large chunk of time in our days to focus on a single mindfulness practice – like meditation.

This is not the case!

Mindfulness can be weaved in throughout our days, ALL day!

Mindfulness Isn’t Just a Practice…. It’s a State of Being!

We can practice mindfulness when:

  • We are eating our food mindfully
  • We are actively listening and engaged in a thoughtful conversation
  • We are going for a walk and paying attention to our surroundings

The point of mindfulness is to focus our attention on ONE thing – to minimize distractions.

You Don’t Need To “Schedule” Time for Mindfulness.

While you sure can, it is not a necessity! It’s not even a requirement!

It might be helpful at first to write down reminders or come up with a written plan of how YOU want to add mindfulness to your kids (and your) lives.

(Because lets be real here for a moment, if you’re expecting your kids to be more mindful, then you sure as hell be too! Role modelling for the WIN!)

Either way…

You don’t need to add anything or change your schedule around.

You just have to change HOW you view the things that you currently do.

Open Your Eyes to The Possibility of Mindful Moments.

All you need is a minute.

Can you pause more throughout your day to get a quick deep belly breath in with your kids?

Can you use all 5 of your senses to enjoy your meal with your family at the dinner table instead of scarfing it down mindlessly in front of the TV?

Can you put away your phone when talking to your children? Be fully present for them?

YES, YOU CAN!

Mindfulness is a Necessity.

The world is busy and so full of distractions. Anxiety and depression are on the rise – they were well before COVID hit our world. Now, they are increasing at an alarming rate.

Kids (and adults too) are struggling more than ever to cope with stress and manage their ever-changing emotions.

Mindfulness is The Answer.

Living more mindful lives is what will save us.

With mindfulness, our kids will live long and healthy lives. They will more effectively manage their emotions and cope with the uncertainty in the world.

Because we know, uncertainty isn’t going away anytime soon.

We can’t control everything going on around us.

BUT, we can control our response…

We can control our internal states.

I Love the World and It’s Future Generations.

(And I know you do too.)

I envision a peaceful, mindful world – with less people worrying over uncontrollable’s, more people coping and understanding the value of their emotions.

I envision our kids leading their kids. Helping them to live mindfully, and lead healthy, full lives.

Do you see it too?

With love,

Miss T.

Health / Wellness, Mental health, Mindfulness, Mindset, Stress / Anxiety

How To Protect Yourself From The World’s DEADLIEST Disease: Fear

Fear – What is its purpose?

Experiencing fear is part of being human. It was built into our operating system to keep us safe.

When our lives are threatened, our stress response triggers us into ‘fight or flight’ mode to quickly expel the danger from our presence.

These short-bursts of fear are essential for our survival.

But, What Happens When our Fear is Constant?

While short bursts of fear are meant to keep us safe, living in fear does the opposite…

When our sympathetic nervous system (‘fight or flight’) is triggered for long periods of time, we feel its detrimental affects.

Our bodies are not meant to sustain this mode for long.

Our bodies CANNOT sustain this mode for long.

So, what actually happens to us as a result?

Fear Reduces Our Body’s Ability To Function

In ‘fight or flight’ mode, our body suspends energy that is needed for other parts of the body. It directs all energy towards the perceived threat.

When the threat disappears, our body returns to normal, sharing the energy among the body’s systems.

But when the threat does not disappear…

When we are always fearful of something….

Our stress response hoards that energy.

It leaves nothing for the rest of the body to function properly.

Our Immune System Takes a Hit.

Our immune system doesn’t receive any energy to produce the cells it needs to keep our bodies safe.

Our ability to fight off diseases and infection is reduced significantly!

We become prone to illness.

The Whole World is Living in Fear…

And while there is lots to be afraid of, accepting a life of stress is not serving anyone. It does not serve YOU!

People are afraid because they want to stay safe.

But fear is what is preventing safety…

So… What Can We Do to Keep Our Fears at Bay?

Here are a few tips to get you started!

Tip #1: Turn off the News!
Although the news is supposed to keep us “informed,” it also sends constant messages of worry and fear into our brains. The news turns fear into a part of our subconscious.

I promise, it will not kill you to turn off the news every now and then… in face, it might SAVE you!

Tip #2: Social Media Detox!
I get it, social media is another way we stay “informed,” but constant scrolling on social media is another way of penetrating more fearful news into our brain and subconscious.

It also promotes comparison. We compare ourselves to others. We get depressed over all that we lack. But, we see only the “best” of peoples lives on social media – not necessarily their REAL life…

Tip #3: Get Outside in Nature!
Reconnect with the real world! Being in nature, we get out of our own heads and away from our fears. Nature takes us to the present moment.

Nature also triggers the parasympathetic response, which is the opposite as our stress response! This allows our body and minds to rest, relax, and restore energy.

Ahhh! Just what we need!

Living in Fear is Not Keeping Anyone Safe.

Get out of your head and into the present moment

Let the present moment lead you to wellness

With love,

Miss T.

Health / Wellness, Mental health, Mindfulness, self care

You Or Your Breath… Who Control’s Who?

Did you notice your breathing today?

Chances are, you’ve been breathing unconsciously your whole life. Without ever thinking about it.

And why should you have to start breathing consciously now?

Your Reptilian Brain, which Controls your Instincts, Automatically Signals your Body to Breathe.

You don’t ever have to think about it.

Or do you…?

You might not… but you should!

Why?

Even though our Reptilian Brain does a good job of keeping us alive, all the stress in the world makes for shorter and shallower breaths.

The Reptilian Brain is keeping us alive by keeping us breathing… but that doesn’t mean it keeps us breathing well…

Not in the long term, at least…

Stress is Everywhere These Days…

With all of this added stress, our breathing has changed.

We no longer fill up the entirety of our lungs when we inhale…

And we don’t fully empty out our lungs on the exhale…

We miss the opportunity to get the most amount of oxygen delivered to our bloodstream. And to the rest of our bodies.

Without the proper amount of oxygen delivered to the body, it lacks the ability to function optimally.

Lack of oxygen contributes to:

  • Ramped up Nervous System – more stress.
  • Reduced Immune Functioning – more sickness.
  • Decreased Functioning in the Heart, Brain, and other Organs – a whole lot more stress and sickness.

Our Body Systems are Connected.

Connected by our breath.

We need to stop taking our breath for granted.

Our breath is our life force.

It isn’t something we can afford to forget about.

The key to health: Remember to notice your breathing.

And then breathe like your life depends on it.

Because…

… It does.

With love,

Miss T.

compassion, Kindness, Mindfulness, Mindset

The Only Sure Path To Happiness: And The Biggest Mistake Most People Make When it Comes To Making Others Happy

“Why should my happiness depend on the thoughts going on in someone else’s head?”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I didn’t always understand this.

I grew up in a world that promoted caring so much about others opinions. Caring about fitting in at school. Caring about fitting in with co-workers at the new job.

I used to adopt this mindset too.

I cared a little too much about what others thought of me.

So much so that I would stuff my opinion to prevent any friction.

This Mindset Becomes Rooted in Our Subconscious.

Before long, we stuff our truth and change who we are just to fit without thinking too much of it…

It becomes a natural reaction.

It took me a long time to break free from this mindset (Still not perfect, but I’m working on it).

To understand that I’m my own human and my happiness should not depend on what other think of me. What their perceptions are. Or their pre-conceived notions.

It is only their perspective after all.

Perspective is Only Perspective.

Not absolute truth.

Maybe that persons truth… but it’s not mine.

And so, no one, not you or I, should have to change themselves or hide their opinions just to fit in. To care about what someone else thinks. To make that person happy.

You deserve to be you.

And I deserve to be me.

That is the only real path to happiness…

Being Our Authentic Selves.

With love,

Miss T.

compassion, Health / Wellness, Mental health, Mindfulness, Mindset, self care, Stress / Anxiety

Teens Have It Rough: Help Your Teenager Navigate Tough Waters With This All-In-One Gratitude Journal!

Teenagers Sure do Have it Rough…

For them, life is a balancing act.

  • Balancing stress from all the social pressures…
  • Struggling with confidence and self-acceptance…
  • Questioning their place in this world…

They have to deal with all this (and more) with an under-developed brain.

Their brains are STILL a work in progress…

I look at that list (even with my developed adult brain) and know I’d be struggling balancing all of that too…

So What Can We Do?

How can we help them navigate through this tricky spot in life?

I asked myself these very same questions at the beginning of this school year…

Because this School Year, I Found Myself Neck-Deep in the Middle of Grade 9 Classroom Waters…

This classroom was filled with some complex kids with complex needs…

I wanted to help them…

The way I wish someone helped me back then…

They desperately needed certain skills…

Skills that would help them THRIVE, instead of just SURVIVE…

This is why, after much thought and a lot of field research (testing the waters of my Grade 9 classroom), I came up with a way to help my students build an essential skillset!

A skillset that would help them, not only, navigate the rough waters of Junior High, but also prepare them for life (and develop their brains along the way)!

Introducing…
The Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!!

Okay, but what makes this Gratitude Journal so special?

How is a gratitude journal supposed to help our struggling Teens…?

Well, THIS journal is MORE than just any old Gratitude Journal…

In fact, it helps Teens develop qualities and skills like:

  • Emotional Regulation and Stress Management
  • Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Empathy and Compassion for Themselves and Others
  • Positive Self-Talk and and Self-Acceptance
  • Forgiveness and Perspective Shifting
  • And of course, Expressing Gratitude and Feelings of Appreciation

How Does One Journal Do All of This?

It provides regulation strategies, like Breath of the Month and Mindful Colouring, to manage stress and anxiety – tools that Teens can use for life!

(I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me Teens are “too cool for school” to colour… My field research says otherwise! :P)

The Weekly Positive Affirmations promote positive self-talk, self-acceptance, boosts confidence and reminds Teens to show themselves compassion. We are all just human, after all.

The Gratitude Questions and Challenges are thought provoking and help shift perspective in Teens. They begin to understand their place in the world and have appreciation for whats going on around them.

This Interactive Journal provides a creative outlet for Teens to get thoughts and worries out of their heads. Getting things out on paper gives Teens the chance to reflect on experiences and even learn from them.

Plus, we already know that when our Mental Health improves, so does our overall health! This translates to other parts of our lives.

And Teens will benefit for years to come!

But Why?

Why Did I Decide To Create A Journal For Teens Unlike Any Other?

Well, I’d like to ask you this…

Do YOU remember what it was like being a Teenager?

I sure do…

And when I met my Grade 9 students on that very first day, I saw myself in all of them.

All of my insecurities…

All of my worries…

All of my struggles trying to fit into the world…

I Barely Got By My Teen Years

I wasn’t about to let that happen to these kids.

So…

I asked myself,

“How would I have helped MYSELF back in my Teen years?”

“What supports did I desperately need?”

DIY: Gratitude Notebooks

A few students and I put together personal notebooks filled with gratitude, breathing and calming strategies, affirmations, and other random thoughts!

The note books were amazing, but they just weren’t quite enough

They weren’t as organized as I would have liked.

They weren’t as appealing to the Teenager who is concerned about appearance.

So….

I took all of these lessons I learned from my Gratitude Notebooks,

All of the lessons from my Teenage students,

And all of the lessons from reflecting on my Teen years,

And turned them into the beautiful…

Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are…”

The Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens helps teens develop the courage to be who they really are.

So they can be who they are really meant to be…

With Love & Gratitude,

Miss T.


If You are Interested in Helping Your Teen Navigate Tough Waters…

Check out the Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal for Teens!

Twelve weeks of Gratitude Journal Prompts, Reflection Questions, Breathing Exercises, Positive Affirmations, and more!

This Journal Also Includes:

  • A NEW Gratitude Question EVERY DAY
  • Weekly Mandala Colouring Pages (That Double as Positive Affirmations)
  • Inspirational Quotes for Each Day of Prompts

Here Are What Some Teens Had To Say About The
Kids Yoga Stories Gratitude Journal:

“I would buy 8 copies of this journal if I could…”

-Grade 9 Student

“Can you let me know when this journal comes out so I can get my parents to buy it?”

-Grade 7 Student
Education, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness, Stress / Anxiety

The Hard Truth you Need to Know about Teaching: How to Create More Time

“I just don’t have the time…”

“How am I supposed to squeeze anything else into my day…?”

Things I hear in Education..

And I get it, Teachers have a lot on their overflowing plates.

They are more than just Teachers – they feed kids when they’re hungry and console them when they’re hurt.

Days become overwhelmed with to-do’s and then suddenly… its JUNE! And we’re cutting it close on deadlines.

But if we invest a little extra time, into the RIGHT things, it is possible to get some teaching time back!

Let’s take a quick peek into our classrooms…

Teacher’s at the front, attempting to get through her math lesson.

Attempting… because we know her lesson is not going according to plan.

We have Johnny in the front, raising his hand every 2 minutes to interject with a concern. Bianca is noisily tapping on her desk, frustrated because she just doesn’t get math. Will snapped his pencil and is this close to flipping his desk if he has to painstakingly sit through another minute of this class…

Classrooms are overrun with interruptions.

Sometimes, as Educators, we feel so short on time, that we push through our lessons and don’t necessarily deal with the underlying issue…

The Disregulation…

The stress, the frustrations and the anger…

And the truth is… Kids aren’t learning if they are not REGULATED.

To understand that, we need to know how our brains work.

When information enters our brain, either from something external (like a lesson) or from our internal emotions (fear, anger), this information travels from the bottom up.

  1. The Brain Stem, into

  2. Our Limbic System (Emotional brain), and then

  3. The NeoCortex (Thinking brain)


But… when students are disregulated, then information cant travel past our brain stem, our primitive brain…

Think of it as electricity flowing in a circuit. If our regulation “switch” is turned off… no electricity is getting to the “light bulb” part of the brain.

The upper parts of their brains aren’t on.

They can’t use their emotional brain to relate to your lesson… And they most definitely can’t use their thinking brain!

So, what’s the point in stressfully pushing through a lesson if our students wont remember or relate to it…?

We Need Regulation!

And how do we do that?

By taking a little bit of time to mindfully teach regulation strategies!

When our kids become disregulated, but are PREPARED in handing it. We can redirect back to our lesson quicker.

The interruptions become minimal…

And we have a more effective lesson…

All because we invested a little bit of time turning our students brains on.


Here Are Some Easy-Peasy Strategies To Get You Started:

#1: Deep Belly Breathing (and more breathing exercises)

#2: Journalling or Creating Art

#3: Gong for a Walk (even better if it’s outdoors!)

Wishing you the best of luck!
(I just know you can do it!)

With love,

Miss T.

Education, Health / Wellness, Kids, Mental health, Mindfulness, Stress / Anxiety

Education Problems 101: How To Practice Mindfulness When You Just Don’t Have The Space

I get it…

Space is limited!

We don’t all have cozy corners, or carpet spaces in our classrooms… Some of us don’t even have classrooms!

This was my challenge too…

As an Educational Assistant, I didn’t have my own classroom. No place to practice Mindfulness with my students. No place to put my Mindfulness “tools”.

But, I Had A Dream…

I wanted to teach students Mindfulness techniques and get my message out to the school.

I felt it was too important of a dream to just forget about because I was lacking one crucial aspect…

So, how did I overcome this challenge?

How did I bring Mindfulness to my students WITHOUT the space to do so?

I Got Creative…

Accepting that there was a challenge was Step #1!

CHOOSING to find an alternative and face it head on was Step #2!

We don’t often get past Step #1 – Our subconscious holds onto the message that there isn’t always a way around a problem.

BUT…

There is ALWAYS another way! There is ALWAYS an alternative!

All you have to do is a little creative thinking…

For me, this meant introducing…

The Mindfulness Bin!

The Mindfulness Bin was a lightweight bin that held all my Mindfulness tools.

Because I couldn’t hold Mindfulness in one classroom, this bin needed to go ANYWHERE I needed to go.

Sometimes Mindfulness Club took place in the music room, or outdoors. Sometimes it was help in the gym, or in a spare classroom.

Students LOVED to be “Mindfulness Bin Leaders” – They took such pride in hauling our little bin around.

The Mindfulness Tools that you’d be likely to find in my Mindfulness Bin were:

  • Sit Spots
  • Breathing Activities Book
    (Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey)
  • Mandala Colouring Pages
  • Pencil Crayons
  • Breathing Stars
  • Talking Stick
  • Sand Timer
  • Activity Cards (Breath Work/Yoga Cards)
  • Self Check-In Cards & Erasable Markers

Maybe that sounds like a lot to you… But all these items were small and easy to carry.

I’d sometimes switch them out for a little variety.

I NEVER Felt Limited with The Mindfulness Bin!

Although it was small, it sure was mighty!

It had all the tools we needed to get the job done.

My students saw the bin as this magical component to Mindfulness Club…

Remember Mary Poppins?

And the never-ending magical tote bag she would pull unlimited items out of?

Yeah…?

Well, that’s how I felt every time I had The Mindfulness Bin with me!

“What will Miss T. pull out next?!”

No Space, No Problem!

Don’t get discouraged if you have a space-limiting challenge in front of you.

Get creative: Think outside-of-the-box!

There is always a way. Always a solution.

I hope my Mindfulness Bin story will inspire you to take creative action on your next big challenge.

I know you can do it…

With love,

Miss T.

Education, Kids, Mindfulness

7 Life-Changing Lessons That We Can All Learn From Young Kids

Working in a school, it was my job to help teach kids.

But as I reflect on the last 7 years, I’ve come to realize they taught me too…

In fact, I might have learned more from them than they did from me!

We can ALL learn from kids… As long as we are open to the possibility.

We can look to our kids as teachers.


Here are 7 remarkable lessons that I learned from spending my days with kids:

#1: Be Fearless

Kids are courageous! They inspire me with their willingness to try new things. They don’t let failure keep them down. They get back up and try again. Those brave little beings…

#2: Look For the Good In People

Kids don’t judge others. They are always willing to put their trust in people. They are understanding. Kids give others the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen more kids willing to help others – regardless of their circumstances.

#3: Its Always the Perfect Time For a Dance Party

Dance, play, BE SILLY! They understand the importance of playing and having fun. Oh, and their imaginations…! Imaginative play is wonderful for enhancing problem solving skills! I know a handful of adults who could harness their inner-child a little more… 😛

#4: Notice the Little Things in Life

Kids are super aware. They pay attention to all the minor details. They see things that adults don’t.“Look! A lady bug!!!” They will be enchanted with that lady bug for hours… They appreciate the simple things in life.

#5: It’s Okay To Cry

In fact, its okay to let any emotion out. Kids do this naturally. They aren’t afraid to cry or scream. They don’t bottle up their emotions. They are great teachers at letting it out and moving on.

#6: Trust Your Gut

Kids are wonderful at following their instincts. They listen to what their bodies are telling them. They don’t let misleading information distract them from making the right decision… They feel in their gut.

#7: Everyday Is a New Day

This is a big one… Kids don’t hold onto things that adults do. They forgive themselves and others with ease. They can move on. They understand that each new day is a fresh start and they don’t carry the past with them.


We could all learn a thing or two from the kiddos in our lives…

What sorts of things have kids taught you?

I sure am grateful for the lessons they taught me!

With gratitude,

Miss T.