Many students experience significant stress and anxiety throughout their academic careers, which can affect both their learning and memory. A 2013 survey of 30,000 students, conducted by the Canadian Organization of University and College Health, demonstrated that 90 percent felt overwhelmed by personal and academic expectations the past year, more than half said they felt hopeless, and 63 percent communicated they felt very lonely. Nearly 10 percent of the students said they had contemplated suicide in the past year. Parents experience school stress, too, particularly while raising children with exceptionalities such as ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger syndrome and other challenges.
Mindfulness interrupts automaticity, calms us down, fosters emotional regulation and helps us pause to meet the present moment with kindness and curiosity. Its documented benefits include
- development of concentration and the ability return to focused attention, despite distractions
- stronger working memory
- reduced stress and anxiety
- increased cognitive flexibility
- greater clarity
- metacognitive awareness
- faster information processing speed
- greater empathy and compassion
Mindfulness is about becoming more fully aware of your present experiences – including thoughts, feelings and body sensations. When we plug-in to our ordinary experiences in a mindful way, we may find them more vivid, varied and alive. With this comes the opportunity to experience more enthusiasm and joy, which in-turn rewires your malleable and dynamic brain, taking you out of habitual thinking and bringing you more fully into your life.
Meditation helps rewire the brain, which changes based on its use. Every time we have a thought, neurons in our brain connect. When they do, our brain grows thicker and stronger in certain places based on our thoughts.
Through Evoke’s mindfulness program, students will get to know their brain, and have the opportunity to investigate how they are both using and shaping it.
At Evoke, our approach to mindfulness meditation is to support the whole person and his or her family. We teach about the impact and origins of anxiety and stress. Through mindfulness, clients learn to observe their inner world and the world around them with a compassionate, moment-to-moment awareness that equips them to make healthy and wise choices. We help students learn to reduce and manage their anxiety, and to strengthen their health and learning. Students with ADHD in particular may find that mindfulness improves their focus and helps them to be more successful in and out of the classroom.
Our mindfulness meditation classes for parents address the stresses generated while managing exceptional children (often while parents are coping with their own challenges). Our instruction gives parents skills and understanding to empower them to respond less reactively to stress and further the empathy and compassion they have for themselves and their children. We help increase parents’ ability to tolerate difficult emotions in themselves and their children, which in turn will help them resolve conflict better. At Evoke we understand that parenting can be a tough job. One of the best ways we can support the growth of compassion and emotional regulation in children is through supporting their parents – mindful parents lead to mindful children. Educators may also benefit from mindfulness and learning how to share this important tool with their students.
For more information please contact:
Email Kate (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (416) 516 – 3379 for Toronto Region services
Email Denise (email@example.com) or call (905) 853 – 7283 for York Region services