“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
Mindful Miss T’s Recommendation of the Day!
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.
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.
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 WeeklyPositive 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!
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.
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.
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,
“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 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.
The Brain Stem, into
Our Limbic System (Emotional brain), and then
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!)
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 canlook 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!