Talent Development K-8 Newsletter: January 2018

January 2018 - Mindfulness and Gifted Students - by Rae McClain, PhD

Something about a new year suggests a clean slate, new opportunities, and the chance for do-overs. For many it triggers New Year's resolutions and goals (of which only eight percent make it past the first 90 days). While I don't make resolutions (just setting myself up for failure!), I have been thinking about developing habits instead of reaching for goals. Habits are automatic and don't rely on extrinsic motivation. When we develop a habit, our brains adapt to make that habit easier to complete. "By switching our focus from achieving specific goals to creating positive long-term habits, we can make continuous improvement a way of life." - Shane Parrish

One habit I would like to develop is Mindfulness. I recently attended trainings on Mindfulness, read and follow many Mindfulness outlets, and have presented to staff on the topic. But I'm not really great at consistently doing it. My plan is to start small with a short practice before bed. I'll see if I can grow it from there.

Thinking about habits of Mindfulness made me wonder about gifted students and Mindfulness. Is there a connection and are there benefits for this population? I found some great material that suggests strategies such as Mindfulness can be beneficial for gifted students. Here are a few to share:

  1. One of my favorites is a presentation by Michele Kane, EdD, entitled Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Gifted Children: The Role of Contemplative Practice. To access, click here. Update: This newsletter posted 1/3/17; on 1/4/17 I received this in my in-box, also my Michele Kane: Helping Your Child Manage Stress Through Mindfulness and Stressed Out? Mindfulness Works. Coincidence? :-)

  1. Steven Haberlin, who is conducting a study on the impact of teaching mindfulness techniques to gifted elementary students, wrote an article on gifted students and mindfulness for education world. He cites multiple sources and dispels the misconception some may have that mindfulness is religion or an Eastern mystical thing - "they are simply techniques or methods to calm the mind by training attention. He also shares two easy to use mindfulness exercises. Click here to access his article.
  1. Here is a quick read for parents on the importance of relaxation in the lives of gifted students, adapted from a 2013 Gifted Matters blog by Rhonda Stern. To access, click here