Remembering Joy!

Remembering Joy!

What happens when we get disconnected from joy in our daily lives? How can we ensure that our kids never lose their connection with their inner joy? I invite you to watch the video “Alike” below and reflect on these questions, as well as your own, and then continue reading below! 

Mindful awareness shines a spotlight on what is important in life, if we are paying attention, revealing micro-moments of joy and gratitude. But we can often spend time stuck in routines or complaining about what’s wrong while suppressing moments of pleasure and joy or having thoughts that there is no joy in life. Where did the joy go? Why did it go? What covered it up?
What if, instead, when there was a micro-moment of present-moment-awareness of something that warms or excites your heart, that you stayed fully present in that moment and allowed it to soak in. Could you give it the space to deepen? Joy is ever-present. It’s already there. If you are fortunate enough to live with or work with children, they are here to remind you! Allow them to remind you, before, they, too, begin to lose their sense of joy and wonder.
The photo above was taken while I was on a meditation retreat in British Columbia. I was walking through a forest of dense trees and came upon this spot where there was a hole in the canopy and the sun shone through brilliantly like a spotlight. This micro-moment of joy took my breath away!

I hope you enJOYed this! I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

  • What brings you joy? Take a moment to stop and look around you – is there something in this moment? or in life- what is your default joy setting?
  • What happens when you get disconnected from what brings color and joy into your life? How can you bring it back (at work or home)?
  • How do you ensure that your kids (at home/in the classroom) never lose their connection with their inner joy? Or how have they reminded you to “stop and smell the roses?”

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We have lots of joy-filled moments in our current community program

“Dragonfly Circles”

and YOUnique Fitness for Special Needs

Now in Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo!!!

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Dee DiGioia, Certified Mindfulness & Life Skills Coach and Consultant
MK YOU offers mindfulness programs for youth, educators, parents, and community members using evidence-based practices of mindfulness, movement, and social-emotional learning to help reduce stress while cultivating the inner resources needed for well-being in San Luis Obispo & Northern Santa Barbara Counties via community programs/classes/workshops, personal coaching, professional development, mini-retreats, and more. After pioneering a successful mindfulness program for K-5 classrooms at an inner city charter school in Sacramento, CA, Dee hopes to develop programs in our local schools here on the Central Coast of CA.  Contact Dee to learn more.

Subscribe to MK YOU News!

Sm’Heart Skills: The essential education for responding

more skillfully to life in the 21st Century!

Mindful ~ Kindful ~ Peaceful

I have served youth for 30+ years, including those with social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and communication challenges in my roles as a Speech-Language Therapist, Autism Movement Therapist, Preschool Director, Bullying Intervention Specialist, Author, and more. Founded “Caring and Courageous Kids” in 2009 (bullying intervention), and founded “Mindful Kindful YOUniversity” in 2017. Pioneered a mindfulness program for K-5 classrooms at an inner city charter school in Sacramento, CA, and am developing youth and adult programs where I now live on the Central Coast of CA. Made a decision to follow my own advice for well-being by leaving the stresses and challenges of working in special education in the public school setting. Following my heart and calling to share mindfulness and well-being programs to address the challenges youth (and adults) face in school and in life, which interfere with learning, relationships, and mental well-being. I believe mindfulness is the missing piece (and peace) in education and am bringing my vision to fruition! I am grateful to have the experiences and resources to share the wisdom, science, and evidence-based practices of mindfulness and more, which have proven over and over to lead to greater resilience, more joy, and peace in life.

Resources: Mindfulness for Adults

Resources: Mindfulness for Adults

~ at home, work, and in the community ~

While I am creating programs throughout San Luis Obispo County, I am compiling a list of important, informational articles and video resources for myself, as well as to share with others, all in one place, right here on this page. There are so many reasons why mindfulness is beneficial to us at home, at work, and in our communities. See our similar list of resources for youth.

I will continue to add to these lists over time so be sure to check back!  I have tons more to add to this list but it’s time for a mindful break! (Last edited 5/27/19)

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Why Mindfulness is a Superpower

“Mindfulness is the ability to know what’s happening in your head

at any given moment without getting carried away by it.”

~Dan Harris, “Why Mindfulness is a Superpower”

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Research and Benefits of

Mindfulness and Self-Care

5 Essentials of Mindful Self-Care: Promoting Mind-Body Resilience

7 Damaging Myths About Self-Care

Neuroscience Tips for Taking Charge of Your Mind, Body & Heart ~Daniel Goleman on Wellbeing

Different Types Of Meditation Change Different Areas Of The Brain, Study Finds

Eight Meditation Brain Benefits

Emotional reactivity lessens with mindfulness, brain study shows

Empirically Derived Profiles of Teacher Stress, Burnout, Self-Efficacy, and Coping and Associated Student Outcomes (Study)

From OM To OMG: Science, Your Brain, And The Productive Powers Of Meditation

Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

How Many Teachers Are Highly Stressed? Maybe More Than People Think.

Intensive meditation practice reveals itself in the breath

MBSR and exercise both reduce cold and flu frequency, severity

Meditation appears to produce enduring changes in emotional processing in the brain

Meditation can Change your Brain Structure

Meditation Health Benefits: What The Practice Does To Your Body

Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence ~ upgrade your internal operating system

Mindful people transition more frequently between brain states

Mindfulness helps to restore self-control over aggressive behavior

Not Talking About Mental Health Is Literally Killing Men

Science Confirms: Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation Are Legit

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Scientific Benefits of Meditation – 76 Things You Might be Missing Out On

Self-care and Mindfulness: You Are Enough

The Disease of Being Busy

The Skeptic’s Guide To Meditation

Vagus Nerve Is the Key to Well-being

Video game addiction is officially a mental health disorder

What Happens to the Brain When You Meditate (And How it Benefits You)

What Meditation Can Do For Your Mind, Body And Spirit

When science meets mindfulness ~ Researchers study how it seems to change the brain in depressed patients

Why Silence Is So Good For Your Brain

~~~~ At Work ~~~~

4 Ways Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help You at Work

A Guide To Mindfulness At Work

From nonstop stress to workplace success: Mindfulness tips that transform

Three Simple Ways to Recover from Work-Related Stress

Want To Practice Mindfulness? Start At Work

Watch Your Brain at Work  (webcast)

Workplace Mindfulness Can Cut On-The-Job Stress

Workplace Stress: The Health Epidemic of the 21st Century

~~~~ For Educators ~~~~

Can Mindfulness Make Us Better Teachers?

CURRY STUDY: REDUCING TEACHERS’ STRESS LEADS TO HIGHER-QUALITY CLASSROOMS

Don’t Quit: 5 Strategies for Recovering After Your Worst Day Teaching

Do We Care for Our Teachers?

Edutopia: Burnout Isn’t Inevitable ~ Teachers are stressed—but schools can help

Four Things Schools Can Do to Keep Teachers Happy

Mindfulness for Teachers

Seven Ways Mindfulness Can Help Teachers

Science Says Silence is Vital for Our Brains

Stopping Teacher Burnout

Study shows mindfulness training can help reduce teacher stress and burnout

Teacher Stress and Health”

Teachers Tuning In

When Teachers Take A Breath, Students Can Bloom

~~~~ For Parents ~~~~

4 Self-Care Strategies to Avoid Parental Burnout

5 Mantras for Mindful Parenting

15 positive ways to help your child learn to manage their anger (on emotional regulation – yours and theirs)

How Mindful Parenting Differs From Just Being Mindful

‘Self-care’ is not enough to fix how much moms are burnt out

The 5 Main Tenets of Mindful Parenting

The Train Analogy That Will Completely Change How You See Your Crying Child

~~~~ For Relationships ~~~~

Happy Couples Focus on Each Other’s Strengths

How Mindfulness Can Help Couples Cool Down

Learn how to reduce the risks of stress in your personal and professional life.

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MORE FROM MINDFUL KINDFUL YOUNIVERSITY:

>>> Research and Benefits <<<

>>> What is Mindfulness? <<<

>>> Well-being for Parents <<<

>>> Well-being for Educators <<<

>>> Discover Our Adult Programs and Services <<<

You may also be interested in 

>>> Resources: Mindfulness/SEL for Youth <<<

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Dee DiGioia, Certified Mindfulness & Life Skills Coach and Consultant
MK YOU offers mindfulness programs for youth, educators, parents, and community members using evidence-based practices of mindfulness, movement, and social-emotional learning to help reduce stress while cultivating the inner resources needed for well-being in San Luis Obispo County via community programs/classes/workshops, personal coaching, professional development, mini-retreats, and more. After pioneering a successful mindfulness program for K-5 classrooms at an inner city charter school in Sacramento, CA, Dee is developing programs in our local schools and communities here on the Central Coast of CA.  Contact Dee to learn more.

Stay up to date on announcements of classes and events:

Surviving “the most difficult year ever” as an educator

Laying crumpled on the floor, tears flowing, an overwhelming sensation of chaos and hopelessness was sweeping over me. “This is impossible!” I was screaming inside myself (or maybe it was aloud). It was only a few weeks into my job as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) at a new-for-me school. I had just moved to a new location to slow things down and practice having more balance in my life. I had moved from Sacramento and although there were many reasons to love it there, it was time for this gal to get out of the city.  I realized living near the ocean or in the mountains was important to me, so it was back to the coast for me. I began my new school year filled with enthusiasm and hope for the “best year ever”. But within the first month of school, I felt completely unbalanced and enthusiasm was shattered.  I felt like I was standing at the bottom of my “Mount Everest”. And I had no idea how to scale it. That is, until I remembered…

I have been studying and practicing mindfulness for many years while working with special needs students with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Their challenges with attention deficits, impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, trauma, nervous system dysfunction, etc., often interfered with their ability to learn or engage with others successfully or effectively. As my students began to embrace mindfulness practices, I, too, became a student in order to benefit from and embody that which I shared with my students.

Move forward to my Mt. Everest situation. There were many reasons* to feel overwhelmed. Knowing my frustrations, several of the staff members confided in me “this is  exactly why we continue to have turnover of our SLP’s every year”. I thought to myself “Oh good, I’m not the only one who feels like I’m climbing Mt. Everest with a safari suit and a fanny pack.” A few other newbie colleagues at my school shared these stressful feelings as well. In fact, nationwide there is a shortage of SLP’s. Actually in general, in the field of education, forty-six percent of teachers report high daily stress, which compromises their health, sleep, quality of life, and teaching performance. At my school in Sacramento it seemed like there was a teacher/staff member dropping out every month if not weekly (not kidding)! But I digress. What I would like to share is how mindfulness helped me survive “the most difficult year ever” as an educator. 

Mindfulness:

Mindfulness is is awareness of the present moment by noticing our thoughts, emotions & feelings, physical sensations in the body, and/or surrounding environment with curiosity and kindness. It is a beneficial approach to life’s challenges for all ages, supporting our well-being.

Dr. Susan Kaiser Greenland adds that “Mindfulness moves brain activity from the emotional part of the brain into the problem solving part of the brain so it can do it’s job. It can work the other way too. If you can get the problem solving part of the brain really strong, it can turn around and quiet the emotional part of the brain.”

There is a tendency to associate mindful meditation with peace and calm because, quite often, that is the “side effect” when we sit in stillness and practice breathing, however mindfulness is about noticing what is going on in the present moment as it already is: even when having difficult emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Our tools and techniques help us navigate through these stormy times. Like the tides, feelings come and feelings go. Situations are happy and then they are not. Everything in life ebbs and flows.

REmembering:

It’s easy to feel happy when things are going well. For several years as my studies and practices in mindfulness progressed things were going very well. What’s not so easy is to keep going when the going gets tough. For my two previous school years I worked in an inner-city charter school in Sacramento, and despite working with some very challenging students (some with difficult backgrounds living in notoriously tough neighborhoods) and working under rigorous and difficult conditions, these were incredibly rewarding years in education. The kind of experience that brought such deep meaning and passion to my work. I was fortunate to be able to implement a mindfulness program for the k-5 classes while also doing my speech therapy work. I also began sharing with staff district-wide through professional development and after-school support groups to try to offer solutions for stress and burnout. But the city life was not for me so I moved on and was faced with a completely different experience and I found myself having feelings of regret about my decision to leave the previous school.

When I noticed those feelings of regret, I needed to REmind myself WHY I came here: balance and slowing things down for my well-being. “REmind” or “REmember” is simply bringing back to mind that which we already know but forgot for a moment. Stress and adversity will impair memory. As I stood humbly in the shadows of my Mt Everest I refused to be defeated. And so I began my journey with REmembering the things I have learned and REminding myself that I have the resources within me ~ the very resources I have shared with students and staff about mindfulness!

Curiosity is one aspect cultivated in mindfulness. John Welwood said,

“What deeper resource is this adversity calling on me to bring forth?”

This became my north star for navigating through the year. I began to practice and deepen my curiosity to uncover the lessons beneath the obstacles in my journey. Ryan Holiday, author of “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage” wrote:

“The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.  Each time, you’ll learn something. Each time, you’ll develop strength, wisdom, and perspective. Each time, a little more of the competition falls away. Until all that is left is you: the best version of you.”  

Yes! The best version of me!  And so my work began, picking myself up off the floor, and moving forward on the path towards self-awareness and growth in wisdom, in order to come out stronger, better, and balanced. Mindfulness can be a state of mind in the present moment, and over time it can become a more enduring personal trait or disposition, or a way of being. I began to recognize how my traits were becoming a way of being that was changing my life for the better. I made it through the year, proud of my efforts to persevere and come out stronger for it.

Perhaps, in time, I will share more some time about what some of those challenges were!

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Dee DiGioia, Certified Mindfulness & Life Skills Coach and Consultant
MK YOU offers mindfulness programs for youth, educators, parents, and community members using evidence-based practices of mindfulness, movement, and social-emotional learning to help reduce stress while cultivating the inner resources needed for well-being in San Luis Obispo County via school and community programs/classes/workshops, personal coaching, professional development, mini-retreats, and more. After pioneering a successful mindfulness program for K-5 classrooms at an inner city charter school in Sacramento, CA, Dee hopes to develop programs in our local schools here on the Central Coast of CA.  Contact Dee to learn more.

Subscribe to MK YOU News!

Sm’Heart Skills: The essential education for responding

more skillfully to life in the 21st Century!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Many reasons for Burnout of SLPs

The speech therapist gets sick: Burnout syndrome and hospital speech therapy – a review

Crispy on the edges but not burned out

The 10 Biggest challenges of being an SLP

(1) Teacher Health and Stress Study