Drink WaterTeachers, parents, children … anyone – needs only three, simple, universal steps to a less stressful day.

  1.  Drink water
  2. Pause to self-reflect & self-care … then choose a brain-body-nervous system refresher
  3. Take 60-120 seconds to slowly and intentionally refresh with a cross lateral, bilateral, or intentional breathing exercise  (2-5 times a day)

Truly?  Yes.  I’m a homeschooling mom and movement instructor (I KNOW the value of movement) yet still there are days that my agenda overrides my good sense. When I look back on my harried days, almost without exception, that will be a day there wasn’t a moment of intentional movement and I couldn’t tell you when or how much water I had consumed.  My most grounded days begin and end with those short steps.

Here are the basics:

How much water?  For ease use the 8 by 8 rule: 8 ounces 8 times a day.  The Mayo clinic astutely notes that every individual is different but recommends roughly 3L for men and 2.2L for woman (1).

What 60-120 second exercise?  Brain Gym® (www.braingym.org),  Handle ,  PowerBrain, and Move with Me™  all teach easy, short, specific exercises that can help any individual, young or old, slow down and refocus their attention and energy.  Among the many benefits of even a very short break are:

  •  Increased self-awareness
  • Situational insight
  • Clarity of thought (cognition)
  • Impulse control
  • Physical coordination

Short, easy cross lateral and bilateral exercises are self-care and self-regulation toolsAnyone can do them; they don’t require skill or precision; they are not complex or hard; they are invaluable in every walk of life: they translate into increased abilities in everything from the cognitive requirements of simple social interactions to the pure physical challenge of competitive sports.  Learning just a few specific intentional movements or controlled breathing techniques can be a game changer.  Intentional movement allows us to stop spinning our wheels and acts as an effective calming measure.  Calming alone increases oxygenation to the brain, decreases stress, and increases understanding and technical skill.  What do you have to lose?

Want to know more about this simple physiology that can transform our stress and state like magic?

The founders of Brain Gym®, Paul and Gail Dennison, were pioneers in the field of movement designed specifically for the purpose of bringing self-regulation skills to the average man, woman and child.  Movements that were previously done primarily as parts of more esoteric arts such as yoga, Touch for Health, Developmental Optometry, Thai Chi, Vision Therapy and others were adapted for everyday use by teachers, parents, care givers, and students into a comprehensive program.  With their cumulative knowledge and expertise, Paul and Gail developed the effective movements know for the past 30 years as the 26 Brain Gym® moves.  They were ahead their time.  Brain Gym® has been joined over the years by many other esteemed programs, The Handle Institute, Power Brain, and our own program, Move with Me™ Action Adventures (MwM).

Each program has specific strengths.  Move with Me’s lies in its ability to translate self-care skills into accessible language and fun activities for children as young as 2-5 years old.  The MwM self-care skills are taught via engaging stories and given easy and fun names, such as Monkey Wisdom for cross crawl, and Cat Wisdom for simple, cat-dog pose, yoga stretching.  Because of this, MwM is especially appealing to the preschool audience.  Children’s yoga advocates, of which MwM’s founder, Leah Kalish, MA, was one of the first, have long been turning simple children’s stories into full movement based tales that delight their primary audience.

Whatever avenue is taken, Brain Gym®, Handle, PowerBrain or Move with Me™, any child or teacher with access to good clean water, a storybook, and the combination of movement for fun, and intentional movement for self-care, has an infallible recipe for social-emotional  and self-regulation success.

Sources: (1) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283

 

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