Instead of punishing disruptive kids or sending them to the principal’s office, the Baltimore school has something called the Mindful Moment Room instead.
The room looks nothing like your standard windowless detention room. Instead, it’s filled with lamps, decorations, and plush purple pillows. Misbehaving kids are encouraged to sit in the room and go through practices like breathing or meditation, helping them calm down and re-center. They are also asked to talk through what happened.
Meditation and mindfulness are pretty interesting, scientifically.
Mindful meditation has been around in some form or another for thousands of years. Recently, though, science has started looking at its effects on our minds and bodies, and it’s finding some interesting effects.
One study, for example, suggested that mindful meditation could give practicing soldiers a kind of mental armor against disruptive emotions, and it can improve memory too. Another suggested mindful meditation could improve a person’s attention span and focus.
Individual studies should be taken with a grain of salt (results don’t always carry in every single situation), but overall, science is starting to build up a really interesting picture of how awesome meditation can be. Mindfulness in particular has even become part of certain fairly successful psychotherapies.
How does this differ from hypnosis?
From a neurological, or brainwave perspective, it doesn’t. Creating an ongoing practice, whether you call it self hypnosis, meditation or autogenic training, is more about preferences and comfort levels in how to access this state, not a difference in the state itself. Most of my practice is centered around helping people with different sorts of anxieties/fears/phobias.
I do a lot of educating about what elements led up to their experience of anxiety or fear, and I encourage all of my clients to “dance with the one that brought them,” — in other words, continue a mindfulness practice, long term. Getting into “the state” (regardless of what you all it) resets the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system–your fight/flight vs. calm & relaxed system. Doing this literally trains your neurology to establish a new set point, leading you to feel calmer and more focused over all.
It isn’t magic, but it sure feels magical to have a meta-level awareness of your emotions (what is referred to as “the observer mind”) and realize that you have a choice about how to feel, in any given situation.
If you’d like to learn how to incorporate this in your life, my Autogenic Training program is a great way to start.
To your health,
Cindy Locher, BCH
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