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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Teaching Students Relaxation and Attention Skills with the Muse

Due to high classroom expectations and an increase in testing, I find that more and more of my students are coming to my after school sessions spent and weary from a long day at school and many are plagued with social and/or academic anxiety. Additionally, I’m seeing this concerning profile in a younger and younger student population.  

How Can I Address Low Stamina and Student Anxiety?
At first, I offered my students the opportunity to dip their hands into what I call my, “zen table.” The zen table is a hollow coffee table that I filled with lentils, mung beans, rocks and magnets. Students plunge their hands deep into the soothing medley, where they can allow the stress of the day to “dribble out of their fingertips.” Concurrently, we discuss the day, choose a positive mindset, engage in occasional meditations, and do deep breathing and mindfulness activities.  When I realized that this was not enough for some of my students, I began to search for other alternatives.  

When I came across the Muse, I was intrigued. I purchased it for myself as I was wanting to optimize my own ability to meditate. After my first try, I was hooked and quickly realized that this could be a wonderful resource for my students.  

The Muse: What is it?
The Muse is a brain sensing headband that teaches one how to get into a deep sense of relaxation. It measures brain signals with 7 sensors that detect brain activity. The device sends information to a linked Apple, iPhone, or Android device through a free downloadable app. With the app open and the Muse headset in place, one can access guided, attention-training exercises, meditations, real-time, auditory feedback about your brainwaves, and a visual and written summary of complete sessions. The way the Muse provides feedback while meditating is ingenious. When the mind is cluttered and unfocused, you can hear brisk wind through the paired device.  As you become calmer and more relaxed, they wind dies down.  Then, once you have reached a deep relaxed state, you hear birds chirping.  My students and I all feel that this feedback is very motivating, and it helps us to develop the metacognitive skills required to manage our attention and stress levels.

So What are the Benefits?
Research shows that meditation reduces stress and increases attention. However, learning how to meditate is often challenging, because this internal activity is hard to guide and monitor. The Muse addresses these difficulties, because it provides immediate feedback on what’s happening in your brain. It lets you know when your mind drifts away from the activity and teaches you how to reach a deep level of relaxation, presence and focus. In particular, the Muse can help:
  • motivate you and your students to improve cognition.
  • provide a better way to manage stress and depression.
  • manage the amygdala - the fight or flight portion of the brain.
  • establish a meditation and mindfulness routine that nurtures greater happiness, attention skills relaxation and metacognition.  
Link for 15% off: http://mbsy.co/gFjSL

How Can The Muse be Used with Students?
The free, online Professionals Program is designed to help give Therapists, Learning Specialists, and Coaches an innovative way to introduce meditation into their practice and monitor client activity. Personally, I use my own Muse to introduce my students to the product. I find that most decide to purchase one for themselves, as they are very affordable. What’s more, the company offers an affiliate program that allows me to offer a 15% off coupon to my friends and students! The offer will show when you reach the final checkout page. Link for 15% off: http://mbsy.co/gFjSL

So hats off to the crew that invented the Muse and its many mindful meditation options!  If you would like to get one for yourself, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. Again, here is a link for 15% off: http://mbsy.co/gFjSL The offer will show when you reach the final checkout page.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to http://www.learningspecialistcourses.com/, https://godyslexia.com/, www.goodsensorylearning.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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