Am I being too sensitive?

Am I being too sensitive?

“Am I being too sensitive?” The thought crossed my mind the other day following an upsetting incident near the end of my walk on the beach. I dug deep within and listened for my answer. What came up was a mighty voice roaring within — “I would rather be ‘too sensitive’ than not have any, or enough, sensitivity!” I was fighting through some tears and trying to calm my agitated mind and distraught heart.

I had just encountered three children, likely siblings, ranging from about 5 years to 12 years, who were taunting a very sick seagull. I had seen the seagull earlier when I first started my walk – I named him “Salty” because he reminded me of an old sailor who had a rough life at sea. He was discolored and looked like he may be blind on one side. And now I could see that he couldn’t fly because he was trying to escape from the taunting but all he could do was waddle and then he clumsily stumbled as the children approached closer and closer with youngest child repeatedly throwing fists full of sand at him. All 3 children laughed in unison at him as he fell head first into the dune and was desperately trying to upright himself. That laughter sent chills down my spine and I am tearing up as I write this. They continued to approach him and taunt him. When I first saw this I was a distance away and ran to catch up to them shouting “HEY!! STOP!!!” in hopes my voice would stop them. By the time I got close enough, they were just a few feet from Salty.

My adrenaline was running high and I was trying my best to remain calm, but firm and “be the teacher” – at this point just trying to get them to stop from throwing sand and terrifying Salty any further. Inside my mind I’m screaming “Stop being so mean!” but when I spoke, I blurted out things like “that’s unkind — he’s sick– how would you like it” … They looked a little startled but then seemed to ignore me, moving away a bit but simply changing their route and circling around the mound where Salty was still trying to upright himself. OMG- if only I could scoop him up and take him to a safe place! I could see that their parents were a distance away, out of range of being able to talk to them, but they had their eye on me. “Why were they not getting up?” I wondered. Conflicted whether to continue protecting Salty from the children with my “I’m watching you” stares or leaving to talk to the parents, finally the father got up and came to me. I explained to him what I was saying to the children, thinking that he might thank me. He told me I “didn’t need to do that” and it’s “just kids being kids chasing birds”!!!! I’m pretty sure he wanted to tell me “Don’t be so sensitive…” I argued that I did need to say something because it hurt my heart and I wanted to help the sick bird who was unable to fly away. I could see we weren’t going to agree on this matter — he just didn’t seem to care that his children were doing this — so I finally walked away after arguing my point. It looked like the kids had stopped approaching Salty… I’m not sure – I had to leave because my heart was bursting with a flurry of pain, frustration, anger and I just wanted to scream to the world “BE NICE!!!!”

This situation brought up lots of pain for me. The children taunting Salty reminded me of my younger days of being bullied. It reminded me of my students I have worked with who have been bullied. It reminded me of my two ex’s who were unkind and taunted my dogs and treated me with disregard. It reminded me of my “ex” stalking me and me running in fear. It reminded me of the insensitivity in the daily news across the world. The father’s callous response reminded me of family members when I was growing up telling me “don’t be so sensitive…” as though being “so sensitive” was a negative trait. That father’s insensitivity reminded me of my own father who told me not to be “so sensitive” and yet he would become enraged and whip me with a belt. It reminded me of the judge who ignored my plea a restraining order against an “ex”. I tried to explain, in my then small voice, that he often taunted my dog, which was one of many reasons for leaving. Any judge should understand the patterns of abusive behavior:

Studies have shown that children learn cruel and violent behavior from those around them, and that animal abuse often precedes violence toward other people. Indeed, in almost every major act of violence, from the Columbine massacre to serial killings, authorities have found animal abuse in the perpetrator’s background. This common origin of violence perpetrated against animals and against people makes it imperative that we teach compassion and demonstrate concern for all living things. By the time young people exhibit cruel behavior toward animals it is often very difficult to change that behavior, making it essential that adults in every part of the community help children learn to treat animals with kindness. While not every child who is cruel to a pet grows up to be a criminal, there is a strong correlation between cruel behavior toward animals and lack of empathy for human beings. *

*From Be Kind to Animals: Encouraging Compassion through Humane Education

I have healed many layers of trauma over the years, but every now and then, a situation like this triggers trauma stored deeply within and I have to take some time to gently navigate through the waterfall of emotions. I have grown to embrace my sensitivity and have learned that I actually am considered a “Highly Sensitive Person” (see resources below to learn more). This gift, yes, gift, has helped me attune to others, especially in the work that I do as a life coach. And this sensitivity seems particularly heightened with animals. I am no longer ashamed of it. I still cry if I let myself think about the Bambi story or the Dumbo story. I can’t go to a circus or a zoo. I can’t watch any commercials, shows, movies about animals suffering. When my two now grown-up sons were little, and also when caring for my daycare children, I always modeled and taught kindness, compassion and respect for animals. I never allowed them to taunt animals or even to chase birds — I know — some of you are thinking “don’t be so sensitive” or “it’s normal and what kids do” – but I didn’t allow or tolerate it and I’m not sorry. I always used this as a learning opportunity to help my children, or children in my care, cultivate compassionate hearts. I simply explained that it would be terrifying for the birds and taught them to be curious and to fill themselves with awe and wonder, and to observe rather than chase. My two sons, now adults, are the most compassionate and kind human beings. MK YOU’s youth programs provide a great opportunity to discuss compassion towards people and animals. I am honored to work with many highly sensitive children and teens in my personal coaching program. And I will never hesitate to stand up and educate when opportunities like this arise, especially when others, like Salty, do not have a voice.

As I walked away from this situation I was trying not to cry. But I did. As a salty tear rolled down my cheek I sent some loving wishes and said “This one is for you, Salty – may you be free from suffering! May these children think twice about their actions in the future. May all children and adults be more sensitive.” 

Sensitivity: sensitivity to emotional feelings (of self and others) // sensitivity leading to easy irritation or upset // refined sensitivity to pleasurable or painful impressions // emotional or moral sensitivity (especially in relation to personal principles or dignity) // insight, perceptiveness, perceptivity, a feeling of understanding // the experiencing of affective and emotional states

“If you have men who will exclude any creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”  –Saint Francis of Assisi


I have disabled comments on my blogs due to ridiculous amounts of spam. If you would like to share your thoughts or have questions about my services, feel free to email me. ~Dee

After sending out my blog in a newsletter, I received this email response:

No you’re not too sensitive! You’re One of God’s lightworkers who’s here to teach others how to show LOVE. And in that situation you did the best you could. That Dad is lucky I didn’t come across them or he would’ve gotten an earful – some people are so maddening. They see cruelty as children playing. So sad! Think how they must treat those children and deal (or more like not deal) with their emotions. My heart went out to old Salty in that story. Poor old bird being tormented by poor neglected (emotionally at the least) children. Glad you were able to derail their sick “play”. Ugh it’s just so sad people think cruelty is perfectly fine. Stay sensitive Dee. ~VM

See related and follow-up blog:

Leave a Mindful Message

More resources on this topic from others:

This song always touches me deeply:

Nurturing Children’s Love for Animals

Teaching Children Compassion Toward Animals – The Most Important Lesson of All

VIDEO: The incredible story of how leopard Diabolo became Spirit – Anna Breytenbach, “animal communicator”

21 Signs That You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

What It Means to Be a Highly Sensitive Person

Your Highly Sensitive Child Is Normal. No Wait, She’s Extraordinary.

Dee DiGioia, founder of Mindful Kindful YOUniversity, offers Mindfulness-based Social-Emotional Learning Programs across San Luis Obispo County for youth and adults to learn and engage in practices of mindfulness and movement grounded in science and backed by research  to support mental and physical health and well-being. Respond more skillfully to life in the 21st Century!

Stay up to date on announcements of classes and events:

Mindfulness Skills for the 21st Century

Mindfulness In Education?

~ Skills for the 21st Century ~

Learn about our Mindfulness-based Social-Emotional Learning Enrichment Programs for your classroom or school, grades Pre-k thru 12, across San Luis Obispo County. LINK HERE

What’s 21st CENTURY SKILLS got to do with education? 

Some of you may question why we should be even be considering teaching mindfulness in schools. I happen to agree with those who feel education needs to be seriously transformed. Those proponents feel we are failing to include “21st century skills” in our school curriculums, yet these are the life skills, work habits, and character traits that have been found to be critically important to success in today’s world. If we are truly preparing youth for their future, it is important to cultivate these life skills in school and at home.

What are the 21st century learning and life skills? Here are a few, not unlike those we saw for Social Emotional Competencies:

  • Flexibility, Adaptability
  • Critical thinking, problem solving
  • Creativity, curiosity, imagination
  • PerseveranceResilience, self-discipline, adaptability, initiative
  • Communication (speaking, listening, awareness)
  • Social Skills, collaboration, cooperation
  • Leadership
  • Health and wellness

Patricia Jennings, author of “Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom” wrote in her book:

“Today there is a great deal of talk about 21st century skills. (T)wo factors rarely mentioned are adaptation and resilience. It’s a good bet that our children will need to be adaptive to succeed in their constantly changing economic, social, and cultural environment. Children’s brains are incredibly adaptive and resilient, but our current education system does not cultivate these faculties. Rather our schools drum out these gifts through an emphasis on rote learning  and rigid, fact-based testing. Furthermore, in most cases, our classrooms do not mirror how adults typically work in our modern economy. Most high level work today in every sector of our economy involves collaboration of individuals with interdisciplinary teams who have a variety of skills and abilities and coordinate their efforts to analyze and solve problems to create  innovations. This work requires a high degree of social and emotional competence, creativity, and higher order thinking. Because of the constantly changing social, cultural, and economic landscape, it also requires flexibility and adaptation.”

What’s STRESS got to do with education?

The challenge? Stress. Chronic stress. According to the World Health Organization, stress/anxiety is the health epidemic of the 21st century. Adults. Teens. Children. No one is immune. It shows up in different ways and for different reasons with different people. If you aren’t impacted personally, you likely know someone who is.

The following is from The Child Stress Epidemic:

“One in five children in the United States is growing up in what we call “the context of adversity” — a stressful environment characterized by poverty, chaos, or exposure to violence — and this context has profound effects on their neurological development. There is a connection between adversity and academic underperformance, a biological one that education reform efforts to date have failed to unpack and address successfully.”

“Studies show that children who have suffered from traumatic stress are more likely to have issues with attention, concentration, irritability, and organization. One child in a classroom with these attentional and behavioral challenges will often disrupt a lesson. Now, imagine 30 children with these kinds of struggles; they can shut learning down for everyone. Then consider that there are 47,000 schools in America located in high-poverty communities, where many more children struggle with adversity.”

From ACEs too High

“Many of our students have experienced some form of trauma. “The ACE Study looked at 10 types of childhood trauma: physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; living with a family member who’s addicted to alcohol or other substances or who’s depressed or has other mental illnesses; experiencing parental divorce or separation; having a family member who’s incarcerated, and witnessing a mother being abused. Other subsequent ACE surveys include racism, witnessing violence outside the home, bullying, losing a parent to deportation, living in an unsafe neighborhood, and involvement with the foster care system. Other types of childhood adversity can also include being homeless, living in a war zone, being an immigrant, moving many times, witnessing a sibling being abused, witnessing a father or other caregiver being abused, involvement with the criminal justice system, attending a zero-tolerance school, etc.

The ACE Study found that the higher someone’s ACE score – the more types of childhood adversity a person experienced – the higher their risk of chronic disease, mental illness, violence, being a victim of violence and a bunch of other consequences.

The ACE Study also found that it didn’t matter what the types of ACEs were. An ACE score of 4 that included divorce, physical abuse, an incarcerated family member and a depressed family member had the same statistical health consequences as an ACE score of 4 that included living with an alcoholic, verbal abuse, emotional neglect and physical neglect.”

The following is from Mindful Schools, where I received my certification training: 

Healthy stress is a natural part of life, including childhood. Children and adults alike need to be challenged in order to grow and develop. However, in the modern education system, healthy stress is frequently displaced by toxic stress. Toxic stress occurs when life’s demands consistently outpace our ability to cope with those demands. Toxic stress impairs attention, emotion and mood regulation, sleep, and learning readiness daily in American classrooms. Even more troubling, prolonged exposure to childhood toxic stress has lifelong impacts on mental and physical health.

Toxic stress is challenging to work with because our stress response taps into some very old survival hardware in our evolutionary biology. When a 4th grader reports that she felt she “was going to die” from test anxiety, she’s telling the truth. The responses of her autonomic nervous system are the same whether she’s taking a math test or sensing actual physical danger.

Even children who have not suffered adverse childhood experiences may struggle with frequent “mismatches” between the severity of a stimulus (a routine pop quiz) and their response (loss of peripheral vision, sweating, nausea, terror and immobility). In children suffering from trauma, these “mismatches” become chronic and habitual.

“When we look at low performing schools it’s not that these children are unable to learn, it’s that very often they are unavailable to learn.” ~Jean-Gabrielle Larochette, elementary school teacher

What’s MINDFULNESS got to do with education?

Photo by Dee DiGioia, program in Folsom, CA

So we have stress at an all time high. What’s the solution? Teach the skills to cope, become adaptive to changing times, and become resilient, thereby being able to access learning.

Here is more from Mindful Schools:

 Because the roots of toxic stress lie deep in the nervous system, we need tools that go beyond the conceptual mind to directly target that system. To transform our habitual responses, we need to regularly practice our skills when we are not in “fight – flight – freeze” mode.

Two forms of training as the foundation for teaching other methods of stress management, emotion regulation and interpersonal skills:

The Development of MindfulnessThe development of mindfulness, a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, sensations and surrounding environment.

The Development of HeartfulnessThe intentional nurturing of positive mind states such as kindness and compassion.

Many of our children in school are not in the state of mind to absorb learning because they are in a chronic state of stress. Our emotions are continually changing. Difficult emotions like anger, worry, fear, and stress actually release chemicals in our brain that prevent us from learning, and can make us react and say and do things we didn’t want to. Mindfulness stops these chemicals.

“In discussing how mindfulness practice addresses stress and other problems in education, we don’t want to lose sight of the fact that mindfulness can take us beyond the terrain of managing symptoms to a place where we are developing the deepest capacities of the human mind.”


Mindfulness provides a foundation for education because it contributes to optimal conditions for learning and teaching. 

Learn more: What is Mindfulness?

Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist and founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds said in an interview:

“First, (the neuroscience research shows that) SEL skills are predictors of major life outcomes – for example: antisocial behavior, health, financial planning and success, and successful interpersonal relationships. The data clearly show that features of emotional intelligence are better predictors of life outcomes than traditional cognitive measures, underscoring the value and importance of SEL.

Secondly, neuroscience teaches us that the brain circuits that are important for SEL interact with circuits that are important for cognitive learning – so if one is anxious, stressed or emotionally unbalanced, this has deleterious effects on the circuitry for other types of learning. These circuits are intricately intertwined, suggesting that emotional balance and good emotional skills are really important for other kinds of learning.

“The circuits that are important for SEL exhibit high degrees of plasticity – these circuits are being constantly shaped by experiences, environment and training – and so the work we do in this space should be more intentional and we should take more responsibility for the healthy development of our children.”

In summary:

Our schools are under-resourced and this is having a detrimental impact on children in our schools today (as well as educators!)  For over 35 years in my work with children, I developed an interest in neuroscience to learn how the mind works and reacts to challenges that arise throughout the day while also understanding how outside influences add layers of complexities to the mix, such as having special needs & disabilities, trauma, poverty, divorce, abuse, etc. Having worked on the inside of schools in special education, I can tell you that our schools simply do not have enough resources to effectively address all the ranges of needs. Our youth need to have access to learning the 21st Century Life skills, and since stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century, then it is vital that these life skills be embedded in their learning to become healthy, functioning adults. The more they practice healthy ways of responding to life in times of calm, the more prepared they are to take in higher learning! These life skills essentially provide the foundation for all other learning to take place.

“Research has proven that mindfulness training integrates the brain and strengthens the important executive functions that support emotional and social intelligence as well as academic success. Offering mindfulness (training) for (youth) is a natural way to set them on the right course not only now, but for the rest of their lives!” ~DANIEL J. SIEGEL, M.D. & CLINICAL PROFESSOR, AUTHOR OF MINDSIGHT AND BRAINSTORM: THE POWER AND PURPOSE OF THE TEENAGE BRAIN


Additional resources supporting

“Why Mindfulness in Education”

There’s no shortage of amazing videos and articles to help us understand the benefits of mindfulness

and social-emotional learning as it relates to our youth in schools.

The ones listed on this resource link (above) are just some of my favorites

on the reasons for “why” I teach (and practice) mindfulness.


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 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

An Incomplete Education ~ What is Missing?

A high school student raised her hand and proclaimed, “I think mindfulness should be taught in high school just like any other class like math or language arts.” My heart danced. Another student in the class asked “How long does it take before you notice a change (when practicing mindfulness)?”  I silently celebrated and told her it was a great question. After class was over, a third student came up to me. He was a bit hesitant and timidly said, “You know that part you said about having difficulty sleeping? That’s me. Last night I couldn’t sleep and kept having thoughts that wouldn’t go away.” My heart stopped. He began to choke up, eyes misty. I could tell he wanted to say more but he didn’t. Maybe he was exhausted. Maybe something was going on. Whatever it was, it tugged at my heart. Students were moving on to their next class, and he looked at me with a yearning. He was looking for a lifeline.

As best as I could, I offered some sage advice and my business card inviting him to reach out to me, hoping it was enough for now, but it felt inadequate. Incomplete. (Afterwards, I also asked his teacher to check up on him.) This was just a one hour presentation as a guest speaker and I would not be back to follow-up. Maybe another visit months away. But for now, students like him will use their minds to learn math, science, history, and even how to use computers and technology, but they will not be taught about their own incredible minds and the very things which interfere with learning, relationships, and well-being ~ about their unending thoughts, their emotions, about why they think/say/do the things they do. 

Most schools are failing to teach the essential life skills of mindfulness and social and emotional intelligence, which have been proven over and over to be the foundation for learning, and more importantly for overall well-being, leading to success in school, at work, and in life. 

Raising Awareness Globally and Locally

Like others around the world, this week I presented four free workshops to celebrate the first annual “The HEART of Mindfulness for Youth Week”, a global event to raise awareness on the benefits of mindfulness programs in schools and youth groups in our local communities: workshops for two high school classes, one for a group of 18-25 year olds in the California Conservation Corps, and another was for parents and educators. Each workshop was well received and participants were enthusiastic about wanting more by the end of the workshop, including parents asking how to get a program in their school, or young adults asking me to “come back every week”!

Are you on “auto-pilot”?

Our minds are used for learning, creating, communicating, and more. At times learning and life is in a flow state, and other times it’s like we are switched onto “auto-pilot” with our emotions and thoughts running “the show” of our lives. For example, have you ever said something you wish you could take back? Done something that you later regretted?  Felt angry and out of control? Been in a bad mood, didn’t even know why, and couldn’t get out of it? Questions like these are asked of the participants in the workshop, with each person asked to raise their hand or nod their head if they can relate. Additional questions include, have you ever had trouble falling or staying asleep because your mind kept spinning? Had trouble focusing/spacing out during class/meeting and you get called on or in a conversation and you get asked a question and you have no idea what they were talking about?  Been forgetful? Felt like your mind kept thinking about something that’s bothering you over and over, and it wouldn’t stop?  Felt like you needed a break and just want everyone to leave you alone because you are exhausted, overwhelmed, STRESSED?* Most participants in the workshops raised their hands for each of these questions, sometimes raising both hands, or standing up, for emphasis! We had a good laugh over it… and then faced the reality. Any one or more of these occurring regularly in our lives may have a negative or consequential impact on our lives. 

It’s good to see we are not alone in this common experience of being on “auto-pilot” or what Jon Kabat Zinn, author of “Full Catastrophe Living” describes as “functioning mechanically, without being fully aware of what we are doing or experiencing.”  How is it that some of the time we are “in the flow”, focused, and doing what we need to be doing, and other times we are mindless, distracted, stuck in thoughts of the past or future, stressed, blue, or grumpy and we don’t even realize it? How do we take control for having some input with how to respond to life, learning, and relationships with others and ourselves!?!? How do we get unstuck from chasing thoughts over and over like a puppy chasing its tail? 

Mindfulness ~ The Missing Piece 

Seeing the commonality and the frequency of these challenges can indicate a strong need for all of us to learn the skills to have more control in our lives. Mindfulness is a way of training our minds to respond to life more meaningfully. We begin with learning to observe the mind. Mindfulness is awareness of the present moment by noticing our thoughts, emotions & feelings, physical sensations in the body, and/or surrounding environment. With training and practice, we can learn how to quiet the mind rather than chasing every impulse or distraction inside or outside of ourselves. This self-awareness is foundational to emotional intelligence, which is the ability to understand and manage your emotions, and to understand and respond effectively to the emotions of others. This is deeply impactful in supporting us throughout the stages in life, whether you are 5 or 50! We can learn these skills through classes, just like math, to learn how to use our minds in ways to flourish socially & emotionally, which will lay the foundation to succeed in all area of life. Mindfulness is the missing piece in education!

Can’t ignore the findings!

As rewarding as it was to provide the workshops, mindfulness will not be learned effectively during a one-time event just as you would not expect to play Beethoven in one sitting, or to play in a sports championship without repeatedly practicing. Mindfulness is simple, yet complex. With training, with practice, with the understanding of how this can help us, over time, mindfulness moves from a practiced state to becoming an actual trait or way of being. 

Mindfulness research has shown repeatedly that mindfulness practice actually changes the brain. The very areas of challenges students have in school, impacting availability for learning and positive relationships, is what mindfulness has been shown to improve, including, but not limited to: self-awareness and impulse control; emotional regulation including stress, anxiety, anger management, depression;  focus & attention; empathy, compassion, cultivating positive states, and more. Mindfulness practices puts us in the driver’s seat, bringing us out of “auto-pilot” and leads to greater well-being. Since we know the challenges students have in our schools, and since we have the statistics on mindfulness showing that it can help support students with these challenges by empowering children with the core competencies and essential life skills and habits necessary to achieve this, then we must stop making excuses (such as money and time) and start creating ways to include this essential education for our youth.

Planting seeds:

Where I live on the Central Coast of California, it is considered an important agriculture area. I often think of myself metaphorically as a “farmer” or gardener of sorts, for mental health and well-being. This week I planted some seeds and yet I still have much to do to see those seeds come to fruition. Like the weekly Farmer’s markets around our communities, I hope that soon, mindfulness programs will be showing up in every community, in every classroom, or at the very least in programs throughout our communities (see my “Dragonfly Circles”).

Parents who attended this week’s workshops “got it” and want mindfulness programs in their schools and want to learn for themselves and their families. Students “got it” and want to learn more. Young adults “got it” and want more. Let’s not fail our children any longer. Let us transform the educational model to include teaching evidenced practices of mindfulness and emotional intelligence. We need to take personal responsibility for mindfulness in our own lives. Parents and educators must help our children/students access it for a more complete, holistic education to develop the skills and access the inner resources needed for every stage of life.

Now how do we move forward?

The seeds are planted. Do we take action and responsibility to offer mindfulness programs? Many people this week want it! Or do we go back to life on “auto-pilot”?

It’s up to you! If you are interested in being a part of a master mind group to get these programs going, please contact me!

Mindfulness has transformed my life personally, professionally. I have seen, firsthand, how it has impacted the students I have shared it with, as well as the impact it has on fellow teachers. Mindfulness has changed the way I look at what is fundamentally important in raising and educating youth at home, in schools, and in  our communities. I would love to show you how. Here is what one teacher had to say about my recent workshop in his classes. He “got it”.

A teacher who “got it”:

“Dee visited my high school students today and made an amazing connection with them.  I have guest speakers in my CTE classes quite often, but she engaged the students in a way that none of my prior guests have done.  Dee’s presentation on Mindfulness was very well-prepared and engaging for the students, and full of visuals and interactions that connected perfectly with the students.  While brief enough to fit into a class period, it was just the right amount of knowledge to pique the students’ interests towards a practice that can benefit them (and anybody) tremendously.  We know that our students are exposed to numerous stressors at school and at home, but we do very little as a school to address this, or to give them the tools they need to deal with these stressors.  From Dee’s presentation, it is clear that the practice of Mindfulness is a much needed tool for our students and staff alike.  Kudos to Dee for her effort to help these students and others that she is reaching through “Mindful Kindful YOUniversity.”  While mindfulness can sometimes be a difficult practice for the beginner, Dee’s approach was interesting and easy enough for the students to grasp.  I highly recommend that other schools and organizations consider her mindfulness program.  As a teacher she is very much in touch with the challenges that students and others face in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society.” ~ Kurt Lindgren, Nipomo High School

And from Shell Beach: “I loved the science and research behind mindfulness. I can currently think of 6 students who need this! I love this.” ~ Amber W, Shell Beach Elementary Teacher

Thank you to the following for hosting my workshops for “the heart of mindfulness for youth week”: Kurt Lindgren & Nipomo High school, bellevue santa fe charter school, california conservation corps of san luis obispo.

update: we had Two MOre workshops following this blog with “parents helping parents” in slo and at shell beach elementary (for staff).


Inspirational Resources from Others:

Some of these are videos I shared or wanted to share at the workshops.

Why Aren’t We Teaching You Mindfulness? (video)

Why Mindfulness is a Superpower (video)

Mindfulness: Youth Voices  (video)

Just Breathe (video)
Also see What our students are saying about mindfulness (in their words, including more videos)


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!

*questions sourced from Mindful Schools Curriculum

Guided Visualization: A Magic Wand?

“I felt really calm,” said one 7th grade student. “I felt like I was far away from the problem. It felt really good,” said another. “I didn’t want it to end,” laughed another. It seemed as though a magic wand was waved over the 35 students in our “Circles of Compassion” class (in Northern CA). Seriously! On a meter for energy they went from a high of 10 to a calm of 1. Just ten minutes earlier they were buzzing with heightened energy and chatter from our previous activities and were having difficulty settling into this activity, laughing with self-consciousness and uncertainty. What was the magic wand? Guided Visualization. I was looking at 35 students melted into their chairs or places on the floor like wax dripped off a candle. There was no longer any chatter or case of the “sillies”, no wiggling. Only complete, sweet calm and stillness.

Guided visualization

Guided visualization, also known as “guided imagery” or “guided meditation”, is one of the most powerful techniques for positive change which can be tailored through storytelling and relaxation techniques to help participants accomplish specific goals such as deeply relaxing the mind and body, decreasing stress and anxiety, healing, personal transformation or achievement, and so much more.  It allows participants to develop their imagination while integrating emotional and cognitive experiences.  During our class, with eyes closed and listening to relaxation music in the background, the students listened to the imagery described using all the senses (“What does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like?”) to create a mental images like a movie to experience and affirm safety, calm, and peace. They were then guided to send compassion to an event that may be replaying in their minds about what someone may have said or done to them which may be impacting them negatively (our focus for this class was on bullying awareness and intervention through compassion work). With effective breathing techniques also supporting the process to work its magic, their bodies began to melt into deep relaxation.

Social emotional learning

Self-management or self-regulation is a critical piece in social emotional learning. When it comes to bullying and relationships, sometimes the things people say and do can get us “off our game plan” because we feel hurt, sad, angry, or scared. It can lead to feeling powerless and upset. Amazingly, our mind cannot tell the difference between an actual ‘real-life’ event and a vividly imagined one.  The body responds physically, emotionally, and mentally whether it is responding to events actually happening (for example, being bullied) or being visualized (replaying the incident of being bullied). When we can get stuck in our thoughts about the negative experience it can have a negative impact on our bodies and minds over time. Mindfulness helps us learn how to relate to thoughts in a more helpful and positive manner.

Feeling in control

Today’s guided visualization allowed students an opportunity to experience an effective life-skill for feeling in control of thoughts and feelings in a proactive, positive manner.  By experiencing a positive guided visualization we actively choose which thoughts we focus on and our conscious minds become programmed by our subconscious minds by focusing on creative, possible, peaceful outcomes, as did the students in this activity. In just 10 minutes the students experienced mindfulness in a body scan to release tension; sent a bubble of love and caring to surround their personal incident to release aggressive thoughts and replace them with compassionate intentions in their practices to get “Compassion-Fit;” and affirmed the belief within themselves that they have the power to choose their thoughts and outcomes, while connecting with their goodness by acknowledging “I …am …calm”; “I …am …peace”; “I …am …kind”; “I …am …compassion”; “I …am …changing the world.” I was no surprise when they shared positive responses during our follow-up discussion: “I felt like I was far away from the problem. It felt really good.” One student explained how he was able to remove himself from an unpleasant experience and choose a peaceful, healing response to it.

You Can’t Be Peaceful and Aggressive at the Same Time!

One of the profound results from this activity is moving from thoughts and feelings of anxiety and stress (brought on by such things as bullying) to experiencing and enjoying the feelings of inner peace. When we are stressed due to the actions of others we give up our power for experiencing peace. When we proactively use strategies to shift our thinking and responses, we take back our own power. Feeling in control can positively impact all areas of our lives, emotionally, socially, and academically. The control, in this case, is for positive purposes where it is used for positive intentions. We can’t feel at peace and we can’t experience peace if we are having thoughts or images which are aggressive, angry, sad, worried. We get to choose. The benefits of guided visualization are long lasting, including feelings of deep relaxation, emotional and physical healing, enhancing creativity, increasing creativity, improving performance and skills, increasing confidence, self-empowerment, developing compassion, and so much more. Wouldn’t it be amazing to start the school day in classrooms school-wide with youth being able to release stress and feel peaceful while opening up their hearts and minds to prepare for learning?

Practice, practice!

We are filled with a wondrous resource within ourselves to draw upon anytime it’s needed to experience calm and peace as though a magic wand was used. This gift often goes unopened or ignored yet it can be one of the best gifts we use when opened. It’s tucked right there within us. By practicing this with our youth they will grow up understanding the benefits because they have actively experienced it! “I …am …calm”; “I …am …peace”; “I …am …compassion”; “I …am …changing the world beginning with myself.” 

THIS BLOG IS A REPRINT AND REVISION of “Guided Visualization the Magic Wand for Teens: You Can’t Be Peaceful and Aggressive at the Same Time!” which I WROTE ON Dec 18, 2013 ON MY OTHER WEBSITE CARING AND COURAGEOUS KIDS. SEE MY NEW VIDEO “7 QUESTIONS EVERY SCHOOL SHOULD ASK”


#whyIteachmindfulness is a tag I use on my FB page Mindful Kindful YOUniversity ~ discover more reasons as I share them!

Guided visualization is just one of many activities we will be doing in my new community classes “Dragonfly Circles” in Arroyo Grande and Los Osos. Tell your friends!!!

Parents, Educators, and Community members are invited to my FREE workshops in November to celebrate “The Heart of Mindfulness for Youth Week.” Tell your friends!!!


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!

Why I Teach Mindfulness

“…because it’s amazing!”

When a 2nd grade student describes mindfulness as “amazing”, I think administrators, teachers, and parents need to sit up and take notice. See video below:

Two years ago I had the privilege to go into the classrooms of all the Kinder through 5th grade students where I was also serving a the district’s Speech-Language Therapist. The year before that I was also going into these classrooms to teach my version of social-emotional learning skills to increase compassion and kindness, while hoping to reduce violence and aggression in relationships. Many of these students (maybe even it’s accurate to say that most of these students) have a lot of challenges in their lives — low socio-economic circumstances which includes poverty, violence in the homes or neighborhoods, and race-related discrimination challenges that are rampant in today’s world. There were many students in our school identified as Emotionally Disturbed due to the trauma in their lives. This created classrooms which were challenged with high dis-regulation of the nervous system, one student or several students may impact an entire class’ sense of well-being and safety. I had been integrating mindfulness into my therapy work and in my Caring and Courageous Kids bullying prevention work for several years but felt the time was now to really dig deeply into it so I went through the certification training with Mindful Schools and then taught the Mindful Schools curriculum to these k-5 students over the past year.

The circumstances were far from ideal with my already huge personal caseload of therapy students. I needed to fit in teaching two classes of each grade which meant I could only see each class approximately once every two weeks. Add in holidays, testing days (of which there were many!), and prep days for testing, and special events, I did not see the students nearly as much as I would have liked. However, this opportunity was one I would call “amazing” as well! I felt that most of the students were intrigued with this topic of learning about their brain and how to help it develop attention, focus, and more importantly, how to experience peace in a moment. Practicing the calm helped them to experience a changing, more positive relationship with themselves and with others not only at school, but at home as well!

Throughout the year I continued to plant these seeds of the lessons and practices of mindfulness. It wasn’t until we did the year-end activity of having the students in the classes write or draw about how mindfulness has helped them that I really got to hear from each student on how it impacted them. It was deeply moving and heart-opening.

This video is just one of many “testimonies” from the children which confirms to me how valuable it is to teach this incredible life-skill that I wish I had learned when I was in my youth! This child took something she learned at school and had the awareness to put this valuable life skill into practice to help contribute to peace at home and in herself. She is taking what she learned and sharing it with her family! This 2nd grader said that her picture was about “flipping your lid” which is a term we learned about months before (and reviewed) about how the brain reacts when activated with the strong emotions of fear or anger (see our video: Don’t Flip Yo Lid). When we know about how our brains work, and when we practice how to counter that activation with simply taking deep, calming breaths, then we can have a more positive outcome that is aligned with our hearts and inner goodness. By practicing this in the classroom, as a classroom together, then it becomes easier to remember to do in times of need. When we forget, we can be reminded to try it again next time. This little girl noticed how she was feeling and actively chose to take deep, calming breaths so she wouldn’t “flip her lid” when feeling angry! Noticing the siblings she drew in her picture, I asked if she taught anyone in her family about mindfulness to which she replied “yes”. I have had many students in the classes share examples of this as well. When asked what her family thought of mindfulness, her reply (whether it was her own thoughts or their thoughts, I can’t be sure) was that “it was amazing”. THIS is one of the many reasons why I teach mindfulness. Sometimes the world feels peaceful and in an instant it can all change. For some students it can become overwhelming. When we have the tools to help us feel calm and centered, it is, indeed, amazing!  I find great joy in helping children discover how it can feel when they have are able to calm themselves and help restore peace in their corner of the world no matter what comes their way! It’s just a breath away.

#whyIteachmindfulness is a tag I use on my FB page Mindful Kindful YOUniversity ~ discover more reasons as I share them!


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!

This blog is a reprint and revision I wrote on July 13, 2016 on my PREVIOUS website “Caring and Courageous Kids”. See my new video “7 Questions every school should ask”

Sm’Heart Skills: The essential education for responding more skillfully to life in the 21st Century!

Mindful. Kindful. Skillful. Transformational.

7 Questions Every School Should Answer

7 Questions Every School Should Answer

~because our children deserve a “sm’hearter” education ~

Transcript for video:

We hope that our students’ stress levels will fall and physical awareness will rise but how often do we teach students how to create these changes?*

We hope that our students will be able to pay attention and tune out distractions but how often do we teach students how to do this?*

We hope that our students will be happy and able to regulate difficult emotions but how often do we teach students how to achieve this state of being?*

We hope that our students will be kind and refrain from judging others but how often do we teach students how to achieve this state of being?*

We tell our students to be aware of what is happening in the world and be good stewards of the earth but how do we teach students how to engage in these practices?*

Our schools hope to provide an education which will prepare our students for their future success but a focus only on academics is INCOMPLETE.

This leads to the 6th question…

Does your school teach a curriculum supporting social-emotional development skills…or does your school just HOPE students will learn “those other skills” on their own?

Emotional intelligence develops by learning and practicing skills.

SOLUTION: Mindful Kindful YOUniversity

A program which integrates evidence-based practices of mindfulness, movement, and social emotional learning to develop the essential life skills of emotional intelligence, or Sm’Heart Skills!

Meet Dee DiGioia, founder of Mindful Kindful YOUniversity (MK YOU) and Certified Mindfulness Educator.

Dee has spent 30+ years working with children with social, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and communication challenges. (Former Speech Language Therapist specializing in Social Emotional Learning, Social Challenges; Bullying Prevention Specialist & Author; Preschool Director, and more!)

MK YOU educates the whole child and provides the life skills to help students flourish socially and emotionally, which will develop the foundation to succeed academically.

MK YOU was founded to address the challenges students face in school which interfere with learning, relationships, and mental well-being, such as:

  • stress, overwhelm;
  • self-awareness;
  • distraction, impulse control, difficulty focusing;
  • bullying and social issues;
  • difficult emotions — anger, anxiety, depression;
  • and bringing these skills to social dynamics at school, at home, and in the community;

… and to equip students with the inner resources for reducing stress and cultivating the skills needed for balance, resilience, over-all well-being, as well as being mentally “available for learning”.

Last question.

What are you waiting for?

Sign up YOUR classroom/school! Mindful Kindful YOUniversity Enrichment Program for Grades K – 12 in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara Counties


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!

THE FIRST 5 QUESTIONS: Daniel Rechtschaffen ~ The 5 Realms of Mindful Literacy (“The Mindful Educator Workbook”, pp 105-107)

News Story on Digital Citizenship is Timely Again and Again

Yesterday when I saw the news headline “What The Michelle Carter Conviction Means For YOUR Kids” my heart hurt deeply for all the humans impacted by this horrific event of bullying. If you aren’t familiar with the news, Conrad Roy commit suicide after a series of texts from his “girlfriend” urging him to do so. “The ruling states that Carter’s “virtual presence” at the time of the suicide and the “constant pressure” she had placed on Roy, who was in a delicate mental state, were enough proof for an involuntary manslaughter charge.”

The author urges discussions, including “We need to keep an open dialogue with our kids about this stuff.  Was there anyone else out there that could have helped Conrad Roy? Was there anyone else out there who could have helped Michelle Carter?” Yes! These are the questions we must never stop asking. The topic is timely again and again and again until these events stop happening.  More importantly, there are ways to build these discussions into daily life in our classrooms and in our homes and in our communities while also providing the tools and life skills to support the well-being of everyone. Everyone.

“Mindful Kindful YOUniversity” featured in the article “Digital Citizenship” ~

“New Times” of San Luis Obispo County

Last week I was interviewed for the article “Digitial Citizenship” ~ (you’ll find a full piece towards the end: “A deep breath in”). I love how the author Karen Garcia thoughtfully raised some important questions on the use of, and the responsibility for, using technology.  The resource officer she interviewed said that “impulse control is something missing from a lot of the students he interacts with.”

The research shows that mindfulness training over time integrates the brain and strengthens the important executive functions that support emotional and social intelligence, including impulse control. This is why I teach mindfulness!!! The research on neuroscience has the potential to revolutionize education while it validates the importance of whole-child education. Mindfulness programs in school will provide the learning and practice opportunities throughout the day to cultivate self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making which are the five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies identified by The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

In the “Digital” article, Garcia writes about me~  Sitting in Sally Loo’s Wholesome Café, customers chat and push buttons on their keyboards while employees wash dishes and take orders. DiGioia closes her eyes and then opens them, taking in a breath, she shifts her focus to “the really pretty flower paintings on the windows” of the café—blocking out the commotion all around her.”  What she didn’t explain is that I was demonstrating a simple grounding technique when feeling stressed. The power of a few slow, deep breaths shifts our brain from the stress response, or the sympathetic nervous system, to the parasympathetic nervous system. Also by looking around and coming into our senses such as visually identifying something you see (the flowers), smell (the coffee), hear (the music), feel (the cool air from the fan) ~ all of this is grounding us or signaling our brain “all is well”. These are the kinds of techniques that can help anyone during difficult every day situations.

photo by Dee DiGioia ~sunflower

DiGioia noted that mindfulness is hard to quantify, so schools often hesitate to implement such programs. “Schools want measurable test scores that display progress, but mindfulness aids in personal growth over time,” she said.

What I have found so invaluable is the actual carved out time to have the important discussions with youth of all ages on bullying, feelings, compassion, etc. More importantly, it is essential to provide the opportunities to practice the skills to develop these competencies.  If we are preparing youth for their future, I can’t think of anything more important than providing educational programs to address the emotional intelligence skills! Research also shows that people who have high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills are the ones who are happier and more successful in all areas of life because they will be better equipped to handle and overcome any challenges that come their way by responding to situations from a positive, calmer, more centered space. These skills can’t help but impact every area of life and in every growth stage of life from youth to adult.  I have no doubt that mindfulness and social emotional learning programs positively impact youth because I had the opportunity to provide these programs where I lived prior to moving to the Central Coast of CA and children self-reported how mindfulness and our classes helped them!  This is why I am now more passionate than ever for creating programs for youth (and adults) in schools and in our communities to learn and practice these essential life skills. Mindful. Kindful. Skillful.


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!

Also in the news today~
The iPad is a Far Bigger Threat to Our Children Than Anyone Realizes  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen-time for children under two and a maximum two hours a day there-after. This is not just due to a proven link between screen-time and attention disorders, but because it eliminates other activities essential for building healthy bodies and brains.”


Resources supporting “Why Mindfulness in Education”

Resources supporting

“Why Mindfulness/SEL/Movement in Education” 

(“Why I Teach Mindfulness”)

Photo by Dee DiGioia, program in Folsom, CA

“When we look at low performing schools it’s not that these children are unable to learn, it’s that very often they are unavailable to learn.” —Jean-Gabrielle Larochette, elementary school teacher

While establishing Mindfulness-based Social Emotional Learning (SEL) YOUth 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 YOU, all in one place, right here on this page. There are so many reasons why mindfulness is needed in our schools and communities. Let’s do this! Contact me, Dee DiGioia, for help getting programs in your schools (during or after school) or organizations in San Luis Obispo County! See our similar list of resources for adults.

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 2/4/2020)

These first few resources are a few of my favs and, therefore, at the top of the list!!!

Why Aren’t We Teaching You Mindfulness | AnneMarie Rossi | TEDxYouth@MileHigh (video)

Why Mindfulness is a Superpower (video)


Schedule a screening!

Mindfulness in Education ~ Skills for the 21st Century ~ by Dee DiGioia


7 Questions Every School Should Answer (video by Dee DiGioia)

10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety Today

A 19-Year Study Reveals Kindergarten Students With These 2 Skills Are Twice as Likely to Obtain a College Degree (And They Have Nothing to Do With Reading)

Aces Too High

ADHD & Mindfulness: An Interview with Lidia Zylowska MD

Anxiety in Teens – How to Help a Teenager Deal With Anxiety

Behaviour management: it’s all about the brain

Can Mindfulness Help Kids Control Their Emotions?

Children in Schools: Safe and Secure

Daily Meditation: A Bold Approach to Reducing Student Stress

Effects of Mindful Awareness Practices on Executive Functions in Elementary School Children

Embodied mindfulness is critical for empowering teachers to support student well-being in an unstable world

From Anxiety and Avoidance to Brave Behavior

Generation at risk: America’s youngest facing mental health crisis

Healthy Habits of Mind (video)

Help hard to find for teens struggling with mental health, thoughts of suicide

Here’s how mindfulness helps schools address depression and anxiety

How Daily Meditation Improves Behavior

How Emotions Affect Learning, Behaviors, and Relationships

How More Social and Emotional Learning (and Less Academics) Actually Builds Academic Success

How SEL and Mindfulness Can Work Together

How Teens Today Are Different from Past Generations

How to Increase Self-Control in Children – And Why It’s So Important for Their Success

How to Teach Kids About the Brain: Laying Strong Foundations for Emotional Intelligence 

Implementing Mindfulness in Schools: Reflections From a Principal

In High School, the Kids Are Not All Right

Integrating Mindfulness Into Education

Integrating Mindfulness & Social-Emotional Learning Programs 

Into Light (video)

 “Into Light” features four teens who successfully use mindfulness to help battle depression.

“Just Breathe” (video)

Low-Income Schools See Big Benefits in Teaching Mindfulness

Making Time for Mindfulness: A new study shows how mindfulness education in the classroom can reduce students’ sense of stress and lengthen attention spans

Meditation Helps Lower Truancy and Suspensions

Meditation transforms roughest San Francisco schools

Mental Health In Schools: A Hidden Crisis Affecting Millions Of Students

Mind-Body Practices Like Meditation And Yoga Help Teens With Anxiety, Study Finds

Mindful children have more brain flexibility, imaging study shows

Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence ~ upgrade your internal operating system

Mindfulness and Yoga Help Kids Cope With Stress In Low-Income, High-Crime Neighborhoods

Mindfulness at School Improves Critical Learning Skills

Mindfulness curriculum promotes prosocial behavior in preschoolers

Mindfulness Exercises Improve Kids’ Math Scores 

Mindfulness in Education, Research Highlights 

The link above is an annotated bibliography of studies of mindfulness in education from the Greater Good Science Center (2014). Although research on mindfulness is still in early stages, studies show that mindfulness holds promise for positive effects on student health, well-being, social skills, and academic performance; read how mindfulness practices may also reduce stress and burnout for teachers and administrators.

Mindfulness in Education

Mindfulness in Education Research Highlights 

Mindfulness in the Classroom: How it helps kids regulate behavior and focus on learning

Mindfulness Meditation May Help Students Combat High Levels of Stress, Depression

Mindfulness practices buoy students in Sacramento’s Einstein Middle School

Mindfulness Programs In Schools Reduce Symptoms Of Depression Among Adolescents: Study 

Mindful Revolution: Exploring How Mindfulness Can Transform Education (video)

Mindful Youth Leadership Transforming School Culture at El Cerrito High School

Mindfulness: Youth Voices (video)

Miserable Children, Workforce Resilience and Why We Need Mindfulness In Schools 

More Focused, Better Behaved Kids, Through ‘Mindfulness’ 

More Mindfulness, Please: On Bringing Mindfulness into the Classroom 

Not Talking About Mental Health Is Literally Killing (Boys)

Philly school’s new ‘calming room’ offers yoga mats, drawing, and a ‘brain break’

PS7 Presents “Don’t Flip Yo Lid” (video by Dee DiGioia)

Release (video)

Risking Peace at a Troubled School

Room to Breathe Film (video ~ Mindful Schools)

School replaces detention with meditation

School Stress: Rescuing Our Children

Scientific Evidence for School-Based Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

Screen Time Syndrome: Brain Images Explain Why Kids are Moody, Impulsive, & Can’t Pay Attention

Sixth Graders on Mindfulness (video)


Slowing Down to Learn: Mindful Pauses That Can Help Student Engagement

Stress is making our children ill; here is what we can do about it 

Stress: It’s Not in Your Head, it’s in Your Nervous System

Stopping the Next Shooter: Could Teaching Kids Empathy and Mindfulness Really Help? 

Student Stress Is Education’s Overlooked Crisis

Teaching meditation to kids in Chicago swiftly reduced crime and dropout rates 

Teach Mindfulness, Invite Happiness

Teachers Are Stressed, And That Should Stress Us All

Teaching Peace in Elementary School 

Teaching the ABCs of Attention, Balance and Compassion: Susan Kaiser Greenland at TEDxStudioCityED  (video) 

Teaching Yoga and Mindfulness to Students Affected by Trauma and Violence (interview)

Teaching Your Impulsive Child to “Pause” 

Teen Brain Benefits from Mindfulness Training

The 1 Skill College Students Wish Their Parents Taught Them

The Amazing, Tumultuous, Wild, Wonderful, Teenage Brain

The Child Stress Epidemic

The decline of play in preschoolers — and the rise in sensory issues

The Elephant In The (Staff) Room – Why We Need To Talk About Teacher Wellbeing

The Limitations of Teaching ‘Grit’ in the Classroom 

The Mindful Revolution: Exploring How Mindfulness Can Transform Education (video)

The Power of Mindfulness: How a meditation practice can help kids become less anxious, more focused ~ The Child Mind Institute

The Powerful Impact of Stress

The Skills Colleges and Employers Are Looking For

The 3 Arguments for a Focus on Well-Being


Two studies reveal benefits of mindfulness for middle school students

UW-Madison helps students learn through well-being exercises (video)

Vagus Nerve Is the Key to Well-being

When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom

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


Why Are More American Teenagers Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

Why Children Need Mindfulness Just As Much As Adults Do 

Why meditation should be taught in schools 

Why Mindfulness Belongs in the Classroom

Why Our Children Should Be Taught to Meditate in School 

Yoga in schools has ‘profound impact’ on behaviour

And in the news:

This is What Kept the Thai Boys Calm While Trapped in a Cave

Video game addiction is officially a mental health disorder


Additional resources on

Research and Benefits


>>> Resources: Mindfulness for Adults <<<


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.

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