Now more than ever, The Human Connection is needed for all of us and especially educators and parents to share with youngsters; So, whether or not education is virtual, hybrid or in classrooms, let me ask you,
HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
If you’re feeling isolated, alienated, stressed and a bit anxious, fearful or depressed, please know that this is normal during these challenging times.
And the good news is that we always have solutions:
I have created five social-emotional learning teaching tools to help you feel and connect better; These tools are teacher tested; that is, teachers-in training at FAU’s College of Education experienced all of them and they told or wrote me that they had calmer and more comfortable thoughts, feelings and healthier relationships.
So, let’s begin with the stress-reducing techniques with which we began each class:
I.Deep breathing, followed by a mindfulness and visualization:
Imagine yourself at the ocean, just before sunrise;
And as you hear the peaceful sounds of the waves, come in and out, breathe in relaxation and peace
And breathe out tension and tight muscles.
Once again, breathe in acceptance And breathe out resistance.
Again, as you hear the gentle sounds of the waves, come in and out, breathe in positivity
And breathe out negativity.
Now imagine yourself feeling the light from the rising of the sun; Feel it shine its soothing light on the top of your head.
Feel it flow down to your eyes, relaxing them with healthy sight and insights.
Feel it soothe your throat, And your heart with feelings of love, empathy, and compassion.
Feel it flow down to your belly, calming and empowering it gently. Feel the light relax your sacrum. And lastly, your tailbone.
Soon, your inner voice asks you: What blessings have I received today, yesterday and this past week? From whom? As the balmy breezes begin to bring you back to the present moment, YOU FEEL MORE REFRESHED, REVITALIZED & READY TO START A BRAND-NEW DAY.
II.Gratitude Journaling can boost your mood throughout the day. Express thanks, in the morning and before bedtime
For Whom and For What are you Grateful and Why?
We can feel empowered by transforming our negative thoughts and feelings of victim-like resistance to positive, joyful ones of victor-like acceptance.
NEGATIVES: I/he must, I demand or I should! It’s awful, horrible! I can’t stand it!
POSITIVES: I prefer, I wish. It’s unfortunate. I don’t like it and I can stand it & handle it
IV.Exploring & Discovering Who You Are:
What strengths do you have? What talents do you have? What do you like to do? Have you considered your passions? Do you have any dreams that you would like to see manifest or come true? How could you make that happen? Have you discovered new interests or hobbies while sequestered such as cooking or any other creative arts? What can you begin to do right this minute? What are your visions?
Take a selfie or look in the mirror or create a self-portrait and ask yourself Who Am I? and Answer the above questions.
Ask yourself, What joy can I give myself today? What joy can I give another?
Is there someone that you could help feel better and in the process feel better and empowered yourself?
I began playing my guitar again, after ten years and eventually sang to my 92 year old aunt. She was so appreciative and I felt good. In fact, it motivated me to continue to practice my guitar more frequently.
V. What is your Story?
Perhaps you can begin to write about every event you remember along with the feelings you experienced from your childhood through today. Does anything stand out? Describe the details, including your feelings.
My story begins with my arrival to America as a six year old immigrant girl, clutching my little doll. While I don’t remember my feelings, I probably felt insecure and my doll must have given me comfort. Thanks to my American born cousin and my teacher, Mrs. Adler, I learned to speak English quickly. I studied hard and was able to help my parents by translating and interpreting for them. Since my uncle sponsored us and offered us a home next door to his factory, the only neighbors and friends I had were in my classroom; Upon returning home from school, I pretended to be a teacher and guess what, eventually I became a Spanish teacher. My Mom insisted that I play the accordion which was popular in Europe though not with me. I would have much more preferred dancing lessons. Still, I realized that music made a big difference in my life.
Storytelling can help us feel more empathy and compassion towards one another and it can truly create a bridge among all people and make us feel as one.
I’d enjoy reading your story😊
VI. What’s bugging you? Do you focus on solutions rather than on the problem?
Did you know that it really helps to express our feelings by creating a poem, an essay, cartoon, or any art form? And that it can boost our mood even further, just like gratitude journaling can? Expressing rather than depressing our feelings nicely and respectfully to another can help us release any internal anger, sadness, and negative emotions in a safe way especially during these times of alienation and isolation.
I have ‘diverse’ puppets that I’ve brought into classrooms to help students feel at ease and express their feelings about different situations or relationship issues. I also created a Bug Box in which students can place their index card with their problem and relevant feelings And another Box with index cards for solutions submitted by a teacher, or parent or their peers.
VII.Have you considered volunteering or mentoring?
It can help you explore and discover your passion and act upon your purpose in life. It can, possibly help you think of ways in which you can make a difference and help you feel better and help make someone else feel better as well.
I recently saw a video of how students were pen-pals with seniors in a nursing home. To see the smiles of seniors who have been very isolated and lonely during this time made teens feel so good about themselves AND some even considered the residents to be grandparents, asking for advice. Seniors felt wanted and needed. So it became a Win-Win for everyone involved.
ARE YOU FEELING BETTER? I HOPE SO 😊.
STAY SAFE, HEALTHY & HAPPY😊
Educators & Parents, please note that this template of tools can be viewed on my
America’s Young Heroes YouTube channel:
and detailed activities for each teaching tool are available in my educational resource,
I’m Somebody & So Are You! The Human Connection in Education for Safer Schools & Environments
©2018 by Vera Ripp Hirschhorn