Make a Change- InterChange

On May 1 Possibilities Exist is taking this to a new level. The effects practicing mindfulness can be thought of like a drop of water in a bucket. Gradually the bucket will fill up.

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But as a Science teacher and a person who wants to maximize the benefits I wanted to figure out how to fill the bucket more. That is where InterChange comes in!

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Since mindfulness is interpersonal and can support the building of community I wanted to find a way to not only measure mindfulness on a personal level but also how the ripple effect of the positivity can affect others.

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InterChange is about maximizing the effects of our personal mindfulness practice to make a huge difference in the world. Stay tune for May 1 roll out!

Mindfulness for Children (and Parents)

The day usually comes when we see our children cry and we ask, “Why?” The answer is, “I don’t know.” Emotions, stress and hormones are closely related. Each off these can in turn can greatly affect the others. Stress can cause hormone levels to rise and send a kid into a tailspin of emotions.

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Most of us know that stress from one person can have a domino effect reaction. Your child is stressed, you worry about your child, you go to work and perhaps take it out on someone else. Happiness, as well as stress, can travel up to 3 people removed from the original person who experiences it. The ripple effect happens whether we are happy or not. So, why don’t we choose happiness? 

Happiness is a huge topic being research at several universities throughout the world. Happiness seems to be as elusive as many concepts in Quantum physics- we know that it exists, we can experience but once we try to put into words exactly what it means we can be left speechless. However, even though researches have not found the ultimate reasoning behind happiness there have been some progress on finding certain aspects that may lead to happiness. One of those is self-regulation.

Self-regulation begins with “knowing thyself.” This can be challenging and be daunting. Most things that people do today is meant to do anything but know oneself- most things lead to running, hiding and distracting from knowing where we are emotionally, physically, and mentally. Even if we get close to know where we are we almost automatically want to change where we are. The motto of “working on oneself” can be a form of distraction as well. Making progress can be wonderful but if we are not aware of where we are in a given moment if is difficult to to know ourselves.

If parents struggle with this, children’s struggle is compounded by even less tools to deal with the stress of life. Self-regulation is a skill that can be learned. But it takes practice. Mindfulness is one way to begin the process of becoming more aware of where we are at any given moment. We don’t have to go on a retreat, we don’t have to close ourselves off to the world, or go to the top of a mountain. We can just begin by sitting and bringing awareness to our breath.

Many of us, myself included, freaked out and wanted more instruction. While there are many different ways of being mindful becoming aware of the breath is many times the beginning, middle and end of a practice- the one thing we can always go back to to ground ourselves in now. The main thing is to try to experience the breath, not just think about what it is like to breathe. I will some videos and resources in upcoming posts. But for now, just breathe. Before introducing it to your child try it every day for 3 minutes for a week. If your thoughts wander be kind to yourself. We train our brains constantly to jump to something else. Be gentle and bring your attention back to your breath.

 

 

Overachiever Extraordinaire

Recently I have had several people say that I am an overachiever and others have said that I am too happy and positive. Now this is an interesting situation. First of all, yes, I am busy and I am doing a lot. Second of all, I am just getting started!

 

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When preparing for the Olympics or trying to become professional sports players do people call them overachievers?

There have been times in my life when I did not achieve anything. For years I struggled to find my purpose. I grew up several years living in low-income housing and have been relatively poor my entirely life (no rags to riches here). My mom did a great job getting me involved in activities. However, I never felt good enough. I struggled with self-criticism, unhealthy patterns, and a general lack of ability to find solutions. That has drastically changed.

I want to find solutions. I want to help people not hurt. I want to connect with people (even though there is a part of me who wants to run). I want to have purpose in my life. I want to help others while also taking care of myself. I want to change the world for the better. I want to be somebody. And today, I am somebody whom most days I love, I respect and look forward to getting know more.

As a father, husband, teacher, friend, son, and person of the community I want people to feel safe, to be able to grow, and to feel that they matter in this world. I have dreams of  developing programs and ways to make things better. I am working toward teaching people how to nurture themselves, to learn skills they can take with them and possibly pass on to someone else.

The thing is- I have not even begun to tap into my potential! So the next time someone tells me I am overachiever I am just going to say, “Thank you! But you haven’t seen nothin’ yet!”

To help this overachiever reach his next vision of teaching students and families social/emotional well-being skills that will hopefully last a lifetime please donate

https://www.gofundme.com/social-emotional-well-being

(Note about funds: This money will help support a Parent Academy, get educators trained, get supplies for educators in implementing the program and provide me with training to be able to teach educators how to teach the program (this is for the long-term sustainability of the project). Sounds like a lot????? Yes, I am an overachiever with big plans to help people!)

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