Did you know that your heart sends more messages to your brain, than your brain sends to your heart? According to research conducted at the Institute of HeartMath, it does!
I found a wonderful article called "Mysteries of the Human Heart" by the Gaia staff, published on January 2, 2019. It is well worth the the few minutes to read in its entirety, and you can find it read here.
I am including a few quotes from the article for you to preview. I will add my own thoughts in the next section.
Rollin McCraty Ph.d, one of the original founders of Heartmath, said, “The biggest hidden source of stress on the planet is the disorganization of heart/mind, causing lack of resonance. Lack of alignment eats the life force and happiness out of humanity.”
“The human brain doesn’t like change. Shift to the heart to send messages to the brain,” said Gregg Braden.
Oxytocin, the "love hormone" is manufactured in the heart.
With persistent practice, the exercise becomes habit. Braden said, “There are four key words for coherence: appreciation, gratitude, care, and compassion. When we practice moving into states aligned with one of these words, or some combination of the four, we create communication between the heart and the brain. This practice takes about three days to establish new neural network habit patterns supporting the heart/brain connection and communication.”
IN MY OPINION:
I have been a huge fan of Heartmath for over a decade. Years ago, I went through two of their training programs, one called Resilient Educator, and the other one was geared more towards individual coaching. Although I took a long detour away from using the things I learned, I never forgot them. And, now, I have come full circle as I am about to attend a new certification training for their Resilience Advantage program. This will allow me to work with groups of 10 or more to teach them the tools and techniques developed by Heartmath and backed up by over 20 years of research.
REVIEW OF A PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS:
With my newly rekindled love affair with all things Heartmath, I also purchased a program to use in the classroom with my students. And, you can, too! (I get nothing for writing this, or if you make a purchase).
They have a program called Smart Brain Wise Heart. It has 8 units of study for the students. Each unit has a short video (4 minutes or less), an interactive online activity, and more. Each of my students have a unique login, and can access the lessons at their own pace. They can work through them as quickly as they like, however, they are expected to complete at least one per week.
Then, about once per week, I project the lessons onto our whiteboard in the room, play the videos, stop it for discussion, and let them work through the interactive parts together. They love it. (I teach in a multi-age Montessori room with 9-12 years olds)
The lessons are so complete, that even if you, as the teacher, had no idea what any of this was about, it would be totally OKAY.
In fact, I found them to be quite informative, even for me. Easy to follow, not overwhelming...and most importantly...easy to implement into your routine with minimal prep time for you!
Heartmath uses terms like "coherence", "in sync", "cortical facilitation", "out of sync", and "cortical inhibition" in the lessons. For those of you who are followers of the trauma/adversity movement in schools, it is an easy correlation to make between "in sync" and "well regulated", or "out of sync" with "dysregulated." My students now know all of the terms and can use them regularly (and correctly).
To be fair, our class is only half way through the lessons, but I just could not wait any longer to share! The article I included in this newsletter just popped up in my newsfeed and seemed to scream at me, "Stop procrastinating and get that newsletter sent out!"
I know that no one wants to read a super long email, so I will stop singing the praises now and just give you a link to check out for yourself!
RESOURCES FOR THE TEACHER
The absolute best resource to support dysregulated children in the classroom is to have a WELL REGULATED adult teaching them. If YOU are not well regulated, you will NOT be able to help your little darlings to be well regulated either.
With that in mind, here are a few resources I have created or offer to help you!
Guided Meditations that I have created, which are free to stream! Here is a link to one of my websites that currently has 3 meditations available for streaming. One of them is short, the others are longer. These are geared more towards the adult, though I plan to create some specifically for children. So, bookmark the page to stay in the loop!
EMF Balancing Technique Sessions-Think of this like a massage for your spirit, and can be done by phone! These are hands down, one of the best ways I have been able to help others find inner balance and peace.
Pretty much anything that helps children to focus on breathing is a good thing. In the sea of information there are TONS of ideas floating about. I have found it best to incorporate only a couple of new things at a time. Giving the students time to master a few at a time helps them to incorporate the regulating activities into their memory banks to call upon as needed for self-regulation. In the classroom, I teach these as part of our procedures. If you don't want to wait for future newsletters for more strategies, you can find materials I have created on teachers pay teachers. I plan to add more as I create more throughout the year, so be sure to follow me!
Hand massages are a great way to experience some relaxation and stimulation as somatosensory exercise. I keep a variety of lotions in the room, just sitting out, so kids can freely choose to put a dab on and massage their hands.
We have also been practicing an exercise called "One Two Three, Follow Me". One student is the leader, tapping a rhythm on their body with their hands, the others follow the pattern. This again is designed to stimulate the physical sensation of touch on the body. The patterned, rhythmic, and predictability is also very regulating!