Mindfulness Comes to St. Louis Schools

Before school begins this fall, teachers at McKinley Classical Leadership Academy in St. Louis will learn mindfulness and meditation.  They will be trained on how to relieve stress and tension so they may pass this on to their students.  All will be learning tools and breathing techniques for calm and focus.   As a Best Mindset Coach, and Certified in Guided Imagery, I’m excited to be collaborating with McKinley in St. Louis to train their teachers.  We will be helping their team and students build emotional resilience to be more successful in learning and life.

As you may know, many of these students may come from poorer neighborhoods, where they witness more crime, violence, and trauma.  From new research, we’re learning that a traumatized brain makes learning more difficult.  Studies show when we calm the mind and body through yoga, meditation, and other mind-body practices, the brain develops new neural pathways that enhances the creative areas, and shuts down the Reptilian “fight or flight” that’s stuck in fear.   Other schools leaders throughout the country have discovered that mindfulness and meditation may be a better way to handle detention and conflict.

It’s obvious students need new tools to help with stress and anxiety.  New research published by the American Psychological Association shows teens may experience higher levels of stress than adults (during the school year.)  Yet, teens don’t have great ways to relieve stress. Most popular are video games or surfing the internet. While these may be stress reducing, they may not be building resilience to help teens cope better with difficulties in life.

This is where meditation, guided imagery, and mindfulness can help. Research shows that when teens practice meditation and guided imagery, it can lower rates of anxiety and depression, and may help with sleep. It can also help with schoolwork and focus, as well as build stronger relationships.

Help our children succeed in life and build emotional resilience! If you’re a teacher or parent and want your schools to build Inner Power Learning and use these breathing and mindful techniques, let your school leadership know about our services.  Contact us at Heart Talk Now for a free 30-minute Strategy Session

Wishing you peace!

Vicki

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to parents and families.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

 

Are You Connected to Your Inner Guide?

Have you reached out to your Inner Guide lately?  It’s the part of you who is eternal, unlimited, and knows your potential. Your wiser self is forever patient and enlightened.  It understands your life and knows it could help, if you would simply call.

Remember that your higher self is the part of you, who wants only your highest good.  But many of us feel disconnected from our inner power.   Due to stress, depression, illness, or just the busyness of life, we feel out of touch.

My soon-to-be released book called Inner Power NOW will help us connect to that light source within to feel more empowered.  I’m including a few chapters for teens, because there’s a huge need to help them with anxiety and stress.  According to a recent survey published by the American Psychological Association, teens experience even more stress than adults.

As you may know, teens face enormous pressure these days.  The drive to get good grades and get accepted into elite colleges.  They also feel pressure to excel in athletics and lead school activities.  That’s why there’s a growing popularity to offer meditation and mindfulness to teachers and students in education.

I salute this effort.  Teens and young adults will gain enormous strength from connecting to their Inner Guide that will help them when times are tough.  Meditation and Guided Imagery also will help creativity, build focus, compassion, and self-love

Several of my Guided Imagery programs at my store will help with stress relief and connecting to a loving source.  I also work with teens and families in coaching for the Best Mindset for Success.

When we go within through meditation or Guided Imagery, we lower the stress hormone cortisol.  That’s a physical change and in terms of our mind, meditation and Guided Imagery will help teens to become more aware of their thoughts. They can witness a worry thought, without getting caught up in the fear.

It’s helpful to remember that we are resilient. Meditation and Guided Imagery will help us better cope with life on life’s terms with more ease.  You will open up to the more compassionate and creative parts of your brain.

One area that remains vital to success is compassion towards ourselves.  How often do we beat ourselves up that we’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or thin enough?  We can learn to manage that inner critic, by refusing to listen when it starts to criticize.  Do not beat yourself up.  Instead, relax, go inside to your heart, and connect with your Divine self. To help you connect to your higher self, check out my store and the Best Mindset for Success.

 

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children, teens, and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com, for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Affirmations to Empower Your Life

We lost a great leader in the transformational movement and someone who knew the power of words and affirmations.  Best-selling Author Louise Hay and Founder of Hay House Publications passed away at the age of 90 on August 30, 2017.   She will be missed by many who have come to enjoy her writings, teachings, and affirmations.  Yet, her legacy will live on in the lives she touched at Hay House.  This affirmation is one of my favorites: “All is Well! Everything is working out for my highest good.  Out of this situation, only good will come. And I am safe.”   It’s a great affirmation to say to yourself when you feel unsettled or something does not go your way.

Louise had claimed this affirmation brought miracles to her life.  As she often said, most of us don’t speak very kindly to ourselves.  How’s that been working?   Why not choose another way?  Louise believed that what we think and say, affects our reality.  So be very careful with the thoughts you choose.   That’s why she believed in affirmations that would counteract the negative thoughts that we think.  Louise had a daily practice of saying affirmations in the morning and throughout her day to lift her spirits.  Many transformational leaders, including Tony Robbins and Bob Proctor also practice affirmations.

How do you uplift your life with the words that you choose?   Do you tell yourself you are stupid because you make a silly mistake?  Or you’re not smart or pretty enough.  Or, the world is so unfair.   How’s that working for you?  Why not replace that thought with “The universe is inspiring for my good?”  Or, “I am joyfully living on purpose with ease and abundance.”  I like that one and plan to add that to my daily list.

What’s more is that we may teach affirmations to our children.   Imagine kids that say to themselves.  “I am loved, safe, and protected.”  “I am smart, strong, and everybody loves me.”   It’s so much more loving than the critical thoughts or words we may hear from others.   Here’s a great affirmation to teach your children that I learned a long time ago from Best-selling Author Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Soul Series.  When someone says a mean remark, say to yourself, “No matter what you say or do, I’m still a worthwhile person!”  For this week, why not come up with a few powerful “I am” statements about what you want to create in your life. Keep your affirmations in the present tense.  And together, come up with a few for your children.  By the way, “All is Well and will be well!”

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach, Guided Imagery Specialist, Former Radio Host and Producer.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Helping Kids Succeed Through Imagery

Alison suffers from Migraines and has headaches that are very painful and hot.  She describes them as pressure and pounding on her head.  Her headaches went away after she learned to visualize a loving white light to cool down her head while learning to relax her body. Then, there’s Josh who suffered from test anxiety at age 16.  But through his imagery of staying calm and focused on exams, he scored higher on his tests.  These are just a few of my young clients who are using the power of their imagination to feel better and thrive.

Children continue to feel stress at home and at school. Our kids deserve to be equipped with tools to help them better cope. As for parents and teachers, raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children often feels overwhelming. Parents and educators deserve to know and practice mind-body tools, as well.

Through learning Guided Imagery and visualization, kids will develop emotional self-care to better meet challenges.  Research shows children who use Guided Imagery have better focus and attention—even those children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.)  They score higher in school and on tests.  Imagery also has been shown in studies to help children heal quicker with less pain from surgery and chronic stomach problems.

Parents and children practicing these techniques together bring more powerful results and it can be a great bonding experience.  If parents successfully teach their kids effective imagery techniques to solve their problems, their world could be transformed. If teachers could help children access their learning potential, through imagery, education could thrive.

For the next few blogs, I will discuss some techniques that you may try at home or at school with your children to help them with calm.

#1: The Balloon Breath

This is a technique of breathing slowly and deeply into the belly while focusing attention around the navel. We begin filling up deep into our belly.  This type of diaphragmatic breathing centers and calms children.

You can breath in slowly…filling up with air…then let it out very slowly…  Once more breath in deep, slowly,  then let it out.   (Do this for at least two minutes.)

One teen, who was frequently upset, was able to calm himself and reduce his stress from an 8 to a 2 by practicing his balloon breath several times a day. He found it made him feel especially peaceful when he focused his attention on his heart.  You may feel like you are breathing in and out from your heart.  Gratitude is so important to feel when doing this special breathing.

# 2: Relaxing the Body

Progressive relaxation of the body is a gentle way to calm yourself.  You begin with a light from above—it can be any color that the children wishes.   Then the light pours in from above through the head, face, neck, shoulder, and gradually moving into the legs and arms peacefully, lovingly…with relaxation spreading into each part.  Once the children are physically relaxed you can go into a script that will help the child feel loved, be more at peace, change unwanted behaviors and beliefs, and be ready for new discoveries.

In our next segment, we’ll talk about some other ideas for imagery and stories for stress-relief and healing.  (Please note that patient names were replaced.)

Vicki Atlas is a Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner and Meditation Coach.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace and healing to children and adults. Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com for kids.  She’s helping children, educators, and parents awaken to their best life. You can email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Lean into Positivity

A friend recently asked about the benefits of Guided Imagery.  How does tuning into grace and ease for healthier living sound to you?  Here’s the definition: Guided Imagery is a relaxation technique in which words, sounds, and music are used to evoke positive mental images, feelings, and thoughts.  There are over a thousand studies confirming Guided Imagery and meditation can aid health, improve focus, reduce stress, and enhance well-being.   Children also benefit from leaning into positivity.

All of us can use a little peace from daily stress and the over-active monkey-mind. That’s the chatter of thoughts, many times negative, that seem to go on endlessly. Meditation and Guided Imagery are one of the best tools we have to build brain elasticity and counter negativity and stress. Guided meditation is so easy–turn on, tune in, and power up your life.  Plus, guided imagery can lead to an increase in positive experiences, and connect us to the present moment. Ample research concludes that having a regular practice of Guided Imagery and meditation produces benefits for mental and physical wellbeing. Some of these include:

  • Decreased anxiety, depression, and sleep issues
  • Reduced blood pressure and hypertension
  • Lowered cholesterol levels
  • Less production of “stress hormones,” including cortisol and adrenaline
  • More efficient oxygen use by the body and improved immune function
  • Plus, increasing the anti-aging hormone DHEA

It’s an exciting time because the research in quantum physics shows that your perception of reality affects and may even alter your reality. So if the majority of the time you are experiencing negative thinking and beliefs, that is what you will draw into your life. So focus on the good–lean into positivity and gratitude–and watch how your health and wellbeing improve!  Check out our Guided Imagery programs at HeartTalkNow.com.  We even have one you can download for free.

Wishing you peace!

Vicki Atlas is a Certified Guided Imagery Practitioner and Meditation Coach.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace to children and helping educators and parents awaken to their best life. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com