How I Practice Mental Fitness And Share It With My Students

How I Practice Mental Fitness And Share It With My Students
Beth Lancer
Featured Customer

That Terrible Mental Chatter

As a person who has been diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder, I know firsthand how swiftly anxiety can take over when we face things we can’t control. I mean, it’s really easy to let that happen. In my experience, anxiety is a bully that enters and takes over my thoughts and emotions, and this “bully” often arrives without warning. To manage that, I’ve always maintained a rigorous workout schedule. But there were times when I felt overwhelmed and anxious when working out was not an option. I needed something else to give me calm when life provoked that terrible mental chatter.

Lifting And Releasing “Weights”

I started practicing consistent mindfulness about three years ago. It’s helped tremendously, reinforcing what I already knew: that health involves mental and emotional fitness and care. The unnecessary weights we carry in our mind need to be put down, even as we pick up real weight in the gym to build strength. Both of those activities require ongoing practice.

Warriors, Not Worriers

My ability to share mindfulness practices inside my third grade classroom has been the silver lining. There, an increasing number of my students show signs of anxiety and related mental challenges. So when students enter my class, I try to teach them skills to “be warriors, not worriers.” They need help facing external and internal realities that are bigger than they can express with their budding vocabularies. Here is a favorite exercise I take them through, one that you can practice no matter what age you happen to be:

Start with a deep, slow breath through the nose. As you breathe in, think of warmth, sunlight, and a flowing stream of water nearby. As you gently exhale from your mouth, picture any negativity being exhaled from your body. Open your eyes and name five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.  

It’s amazing how much this exercise settles them down and prepares them for the day ahead. In teaching them to practice it, I’m also communicating what we all need to know: we are each worth the effort it takes to do self-care. I hope you know that, too. 

Join Me On The Journey

Oats Overnight is a company and a community of people that embrace what’s Real. Real people share their struggles, risking vulnerability in order to give others hope. Mindfulness meditation can facilitate that process. We hope you’ll join us on our journey toward greater health, success, and joy.

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