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.



It’s amazing how much of our lives we go through without giving any thought to our breath, and while it’s ideal that we keep ourselves alive without having to think about our breath, paying more attention to it can bring us a lot of benefits. Today, try belly breathing, and stay more in touch with your breath throughout the day.

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair, feet flat on the floor and note the level of tension you’re feeling or not feeling. (or, even better if you’re at home, lie comfortably on your back, with a pillow under your head, your knees bent and your back flat).
  2. Place one hand on your belly and inhale while you slowly count to 4.
  3. Expand your belly as much as you can – like a balloon.
  4. Hold for the count of 4. Then slow exhale to the count of 4, just letting all the air out of the balloon.
  5. As you exhale, just feel your belly fall, and feel yourself letting go of tension. Allow your whole body to just let go (you might visualize your arms and legs going loose and limp like a rag doll).
  6. Keep repeating the belly breathing to the slow count of 4.
  7. Optional: each time you exhale, you may introduce a simple mantra such as “I am relaxed”, “I am calm”, “I’m at peace”, “I’m letting go”, or any other relaxing phrase silently to yourself. When your mind wanders, just gently bring your attention back to the counting and belly breathing.


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!

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

© 2017 Milwaukee Collegiate Academy

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