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Benefits of Mindfulness & Social and Emotional Learning

Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)

On any given day, we confront emotional ups and downs that accompany life’s twists and turns. According to CASEL, a leading organization in advancing academic, social and emotional competencies, SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The mastery of these essential skills enhances health and wellness, strong character, ethical development, and caring, respectful interaction. These, in turn, can help individuals to become effective communicators, collaborators and leaders who shape a safe, just and sustainable world. Learn More: Read this survey on how social and emotional learning can empower children and transform schools.

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Mindfulness

Leading-edge neuroscientist Richard Davidson has demonstrated that our brains are constantly growing and evolving. He coined the concept ‘neuroplasticity’: the notion that our brains change throughout our lives in response to experience, suggesting that positive changes can be nurtured through mental training. Davidson’s research demonstrates that mindfulness practice (attention training) can change the brain and lead to a number of positive outcomes, such as stress reduction, clearer thinking, better self-management and increased immunity. As mindfulness grows out of paying attention, on purpose and without judgment, to our moment-to-moment experience, then one way to nurture more mindfulness is to deliberately slow down to notice what is happening – inside us (our thoughts, feelings and body sensations) and outside us, in our environment. The idea is to shift out of living on autopilot and into living moment-to-moment with openness and curiosity. Pausing and paying attention to the breath can also help focus our attention in the present moment. The intention is to train your mind, over and over again, to bring your attention back to the present moment and strengthen the connections in the brain to help manage emotions, enhance critical thinking and achieve your goals.

Getting Started

Watch and learn as Dr. Richard Davidson explains the impact mindfulness practices have on the brain.