Mindfulness at Haggerty
Posted on 04/30/2015
By: Laura Indigo, Mindfulness Parent Volunteer
Dr. Christopher Willard, PsyD, from the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Mindfulness & Compassion / Harvard University, joined Haggerty parents on Wednesday morning to share thoughts about Mindfulness. Dr. Willard gave an introduction to Mindfulness, as well as shared ideas about how to create fun practices with our children. We learned how to stimulate our senses, warm our hands & relax with the "Hot Chocolate Breath", which I'm sure our students will love! (Breathe in through your nose imagining the smell of hot chocolate, and exhale slowly through your mouth to cool it off- feels good!) We also learned the 7/11 breath, which is used by First Responders in Britain to help them stay calm and focused so they can act quickly, decisively and safely: breathe in for 7 counts, and breathe out for 11 counts (it helps if you count fairly quickly).
Additionally, Dr Willard discussed the stress response, and how we typically respond to stress with the fight / flight or freeze responses, but we also have the option to "friend / befriend" our experiences in life to learn to respond to stresses in more positive ways. Practicing Mindfulness helps us have the more resilient responses of compassion, self-compassion, and empathy for others, and allows us to utilize the thoughtful decision-making power of our brain's Prefrontal Cortex. Approximately 20 people attended, including Haggerty family members, and a few others from around the District. Thank you all for attending! And keep smelling the hot chocolate ;) as we add this skill to our Mindfulness Toolboxes!