Mindfulness at Milwaukee Collegiate Academy

Milwaukee Collegiate Academy believes in addressing our student’s social and emotional well-being. Anxiety can be a huge issue for our students and we are working to develop coping skills and de-escalating behavior using mindfulness.

Active Listening

Active Listening

Something I have been working on recently is active listening. To actively listen to someone means to be fully engaged in what they are saying, as opposed to passively hearing them. We often think we are doing this, but might be surprised how often we are actually having other thoughts, planning our own contribution to the conversation, or simply zoning out while others are talking.

When we actively listen, we not only impact the way we experience conversation, but the way those who are talking to us experience and feel in the conversation. Try out these strategies in the coming week and see how it feels.

  1. Just listen. Be aware of when you are planning out your own contribution to the discussion or conversation, or getting ready to tell your story that connects to what someone else is saying. Stop yourself and refocus on what is being said to you.

  2. Allow for moments of silence. When someone is telling you about their day, an experience they had, how they feel, or anything else, don’t respond immediately when they stop talking. You will find that if given the space, someone will continue talking, delving deeper into their thoughts than they would have if you had chimed in and steered the conversation elsewhere.

  3. Repeat back what you’ve heard. After the person speaking has finished talking and you are ready to respond, repeat back what you’ve heard. This can help to make sure you’re accurately understanding what they said and help them actually hear back what they’ve said in a different way.

These strategies can be used in any conversation, from informally catching up with a co worker about their weekend to talking to your best friend or partner about a personal crisis. They might feel unnatural, but they could also transform your interactions in increase your understanding of those around you, which is pretty cool.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Throughout the day we don’t usually pay much mind to our breathing. We tend to take for granted (because we can) the fact that our bodies will keep us alive by taking natural, shallow breaths throughout the day. There are different ways of breathing, however, that can do so much more than keep us alive!

Today we’re going to try a breath called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, or ‘alternate nostril breathing’. You might feel silly trying this one, but it’s awesome for clearing the mind, relieving stress, and preparing you to enter meditation. Try it out!

Alternate nostril breathing:

  1. Place your right index and middle finger on your third eye (right between your eyebrows).
  2. Place your thumb over your right nostril, and draw a long breath in through your left nostril.
  3. While your lungs of full of breath, uncover your right nostril, and cover your left nostril with your ring finger, then exhale.
  4. Keep your fingers as they are then draw a breath in through your right nostril.
  5. When your lungs of full of breath, uncover your left nostril, cover your right nostril with your thumb, and exhale.
  6. Continue this pattern.

Take a look at this video if that was unclear. It will show you the way:)

Have a beautiful rest of your day, and don’t let this be your last mindful moment of the week!

Desk Yoga

Desk Yoga

Today’s mindful moment is just a reminder and some guidance to take a moment for you in the midst of a day that can feel like there’s no space for that. I will also include my favorite desk yoga video that you can show others when they need a mindful moment themselves.

I hope you take a few minutes somewhere in this day to settle in, take some deep breaths, and find yourself back in the present moment.

6 minute Desk Yoga: I use this video with co-workers on particularly stressful days. I find it to be a good way to give everyone a break that also keeps them centered and focused. I also like to use this video during morning meetings when everyone is feeling extra energized and needs a little calming energy before they start their day. Sometimes I narrate what the print in the video is saying as well. Up to you!

Take your moment: Take a second to settle into a comfortable seated position. Sit up tall, imagining that there is a string attached to the top of your head, pulling you gently toward the sky. Let your eyes gently close. Take a deep breath in through your nose, holding for two seconds when you get to the top of your breath. Make a small ‘O’ with your mouth and slowly exhale through your mouth. Take another inhale through your nose, and turn your attention to your thoughts. When you notice a thought you’re having, acknowledge it, and then let it go. Do your best to let your mind be still. Each time a new thought comes up, don’t judge, just acknowledge it and let it pass. Continue breathing. When you are ready, open your eyes and take one more deep, cleansing breath. This can look like a big, deep breath in through your nose, and an audible, long breath through your mouth.

Remember that this simple practice is always available to you. Take it when you need it.

Have a happy rest of your week, and don’t allow this to be your last mindful moment of the week.

Brought to you by Christiane Buethe, Special Education Teacher and Restorative Justice Circles Instructor.

About Mindfulness at MCA

Milwaukee Collegiate Academy believes in addressing our student’s social and emotional well-being. Anxiety can be a huge issue for our students and we are working to develop coping skills and de-escalating behavior using mindfulness.

Mindfulness allows one to be aware, to be understanding, and to be positive. It helps to calm anxiety, to focus the mind, and even to boost brain function.

According to The Atlantic, Google, General Mills, the Seattle Seahawks, and the U.S. military have embraced mindfulness as a means of boosting performance and productivity, while its potential as an antidote to the distractions and stress of everyday.

This year, MCA has converted a small classroom into a “Peace Room” equipped with comfortable seating, soft lighting, and artwork.

Why does MCA practice mindfulness? Mindfulness can improve attention, reduce stress, and can result in a better emotional regulation and improved capacity for compassion and empathy. It is the right thing to do for our students, staff and community.

Milwaukee Collegiate Academy

4030 N. 29th Street,
Milwaukee, WI 53216
PHONE: (414) 873-4014
FAX: (414) 873-4344
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Judith Parker, Principal

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