Affect dysregulation in young children is a significant problem in preschool classrooms, often leading to preschool expulsion and teacher burnout.
To address this issue, I and the Outreach Counselors at Kamehameha Schools Community Based Early Childhood Education Program — a Hawaiian-based statewide preschool system — developed a training that focuses on helping teachers learn how to self regulate. Learning and practicing “soft belly” helps teachers stay calm while allowing children to “co-regulate” their fragile nervous systems (young children “lean on” the nervous systems of their caregivers).
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It was day two, 3:00 in the afternoon, and time for a break. Dr. Gordon instructed us to stand up; he was going to play some music. We closed our eyes and were told to shake our bodies. We started from the ground up, gently bouncing, moving our ankles, knees, and then hips. Continuing up the body, we moved our torsos, shoulders, arms, and head. We shook like this for six minutes to music that had an almost hypnotic beat. Dr. Gordon counted the minutes and encouraged us to keep shaking, keep moving! Even though the last minute felt like eternity, my eyes were closed, my body was shaking, and for a moment I felt as if I were alone in the room (I should mention that I was actually one of 400).
The music stopped; we opened our eyes and took a few slow, deep breaths. Ready for part two, I was hopeful that it would not involve more shaking; I was worn out! Dr. Gordon instructed us to close our eyes and move our bodies in whatever way would feel good. The music started; I started to move my body and then I started to cry. The song was Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley. Even though I’ve heard this song a million times, this time was different; I drank in every word as if it were brand new. As Bob Marley sang to me, “Don’t worry, ‘bout a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright.” a huge weight was lifted off of me; I felt lighter, I could breathe! At the time, I was a medical mess, lots of tests, waiting for results, and fretting about the future. Obviously, I was letting my personal situation weigh on me more than I realized. I wasn’t fully present and I needed to let the worry go.
The importance of being free and in the moment cannot be over stated; I realized that I was not a participant in my own life; my body was in the room but my mind was elsewhere. Now I know that I need to welcome myself and allow myself to be present. Hello self, I’m so glad you’re here!
Author: Kelly Rulle
Fall signals the harvest season: a time to reflect on our original intentions for the year and acknowledge all our hard work so far. We may grieve how quickly the year has flown by and yet cherish the fall flavors and colors. The season is inspiring, poignant, bittersweet. Between school, work activities, and holidays, this is a season to reconnect with ourselves and our higher purpose, and to connect with others in a spirit of collaboration.
Mind-body skills groups for medical students: reducing stress, enhancing commitment, and promoting patient-centered care
When I started The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in 1991, one of my missions was to bring our vision of self-care and group support to medical students. I am happy to report that I’ve just published a paper that describes how our Mind-Body Skills Group (MBSG) model is currently being used in 15 medical schools. The article, “Mind-body skills groups for medical students: reducing stress, enhancing commitment, and promoting patient-centered care” is in BioMed Central Medical Education (James S. Gordon, 22 September 2014), one of the leading peer-reviewed journals of medical education.
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