Have you ever noticed that when you are happy, clear and confident, your kids or students are too? When you take care of yourself and feel good, you are more able to enjoy the day, and what happens is manageable. You are able to embrace things rather than struggle with them.
According to brain and educational researchers, including Eric Jensen and Carla Hannaford, our mind-body state dictates what is possible for us. Landmark Education calls it the BE – DO – Have principle. How you are being (your state) determines your choices and the way you do them (your actions) and so, creates what you have (your experience). In other words, the state of our nervous systems, or the way we feel, is an energetic vibration that fills the space in and around us. It dictates the quality of our choices and the intentions of our actions. For example, when you are stressed, what kinds of foods do you choose? When you are tired or frustrated, how present or kind are you to others? When you are worried, how careful or caring can you be?
As a teacher, parent or leader, this universal principle makes us the music in the room. The sustaining of our own well-being or positive state becomes paramount. How we ARE literally influences everyone around us – our children, students, employees.
This phenomenon is called entrainment, which is defined as the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony. The principle of entrainment is universal, appearing in chemistry, biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, education, etc. The classic example shows individual pulsing heart muscle cells. When they are brought close together, they begin pulsing in synchrony.
From the perspective of entrainment, the managing of one’s own mind-body state, especially for you – the adult “in charge”, becomes the priority. Because we feel, learn and live through our bodies , the fact is that to do well socially and academically, we need to feel well. This truth translates to needing to be emotionally intelligent and self- caring and regulating throughout the day. As you maintain a “coherent” vibration, one which is even and regular (relaxed & able), rather than “incoherent” , which is static and irregular (stressed & anxious/angry), you also set the tone/rhythm to which everyone else will synch.
We know that entrainment is the basis for naturally occurring social-emotional learning and self-regulation. When parents and teachers are self-monitoring and sustain coherence, children seem to magically learn to as well. As children improve their self-awareness and self-control, they learn how to consciously manage their emotions and impulses. This increases their empathy and resilience. We also know that the ability to self-regulate pays off not just in improved behavior but in measurable academic achievement.
So what about you? What are you doing to support yourself? How do you regulate your own system so you can BE the music that you wish to be? Resourcing your own mind-body such that you can sustain a coherent vibration is a crucial to maintaining a harmonious and productive home /classroom environment.
If you are looking for help, Move with Me Action Adventures, offers fun, story-based movement videos and simple, kid-friendly mindfulness activities. These inexpensive, easy-to-use resources provide indoor active play as well as self-care and regulation tools. Both are as effective and supportive to you as they are to your children/students. Make time for them in your day. Your adventure together will be healthier, more fun, and more rewarding.
Leah Kalish, MA is a parent, yoga educator, and producer of the Move with Me movement and mindfulness resources for pre-K and kindergarten.