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Week 2: How to Find Some Headspace

With Mental Health Awareness Month in full swing, learn more about Headspace’s partnership with Teach For America and the benefits of mindfulness meditation.
Monday, May 8, 2017
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The benefits of mindfulness meditation are abundant. In just 10 minutes a day, studies show you can positively affect the way your brain processes both thought and feeling, while reducing stress and even improving communication skills.

However, as an educator, carving out extra time in your daily schedule for something new can admittedly be a tall order. As a result, Headspace and Teach For America have partnered to dispel the perception that mindfulness meditation is inaccessible by offering applicable, proven techniques to train your mind for a healthier and happier career in the classroom and beyond.

The Headspace app is an effective way to integrate mindfulness into your life, and thanks to our new partnership, they’ve made a one-year subscription (usually worth $155) available to all of our corps members and alumni teachers for free.

Want to learn more? The folks at Headspace help us answer some of our initial questions.

What’s mindfulness meditation?

We define mindfulness as the intention to be present in the here and now, fully engaged in whatever is happening, free from distraction or judgment, with a soft and open mind.  Meditation is a simple exercise of familiarization with the qualities of mindfulness.  It helps train the mind to be calmer, clearer and kinder. The more you meditate, the easier it becomes to apply mindfulness to everyday activities. 

Meditation can be intimidating for a newbie.  What simple tools and tips do you suggest for someone new to meditation practice?  How can the Headspace app help?

Many of us here at Headspace had been trying to get into meditation for years by going to groups or reading books, but it was a struggle to fit it into daily life and the whole thing felt a bit daunting.  Many think it’s about desperately trying to empty your head, which feels impossible. Headspace guides you through it in a clear, fun way and teaches you that it is not about emptying your head; it’s about being with the mind instead.  And you can really do it wherever and whenever you want in just 10 minutes.

Our app is full of tips about how to get started and how to help make meditation a regular habit, such as aiming to do it roughly the same time each day and how to sit. Most importantly, you’ll recognize that on some days, it will feel easy, and on other, it will be difficult—just like the gym. But the trick is to gently stay with it no matter how it feels and you really will see results.

Headspace is helping to shift the way we think and talk about meditation.  Can you share some of the most compelling?

Yes, the science suggests that as little as five to 10 minutes a day can make a significant difference in the way the brain processes both thought and feeling. At Headspace, we recognize that not everyone has more than 10 minutes to spare, but we try to nudge people forward to 20 minutes if they do have time. 

The scientific research on meditation has exploded in recent years. There are over 2,000 scientific studies that have found mindfulness to have significant benefits, covering everything from reducing stress, anxiety and depression, to improving sleep and levels of empathy. 

We would add that there is also a growing body of research producing evidence that teachers who incorporate mindfulness practices

Corps members and alumni teachers can email alumniteaching@teachforamerica.org to obtain the code for their free year-long subscription.

We would like to hear from you!  Teachers – look at our teaching tools wellness and mental health resource page and let us know what other wellness resources and practices you find useful or would like us to add we will add your name into a drawing for a wellness giveaway.

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