from the world's big
Reaching beyond the stereotypes of meditation and embracing the science of mindfulness.
- There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to what mindfulness is and what meditation can do for those who practice it. In this video, professors, neuroscientists, psychologists, composers, authors, and a former Buddhist monk share their experiences, explain the science behind meditation, and discuss the benefits of learning to be in the moment.
- "Mindfulness allows us to shift our relationship to our experience," explains psychologist Daniel Goleman. The science shows that long-term meditators have higher levels of gamma waves in their brains even when they are not meditating. The effect of this altered response is yet unknown, though it shows that there are lasting cognitive effects.
- "I think we're looking at meditation as the next big public health revolution," says ABC News anchor Dan Harris. "Meditation is going to join the pantheon of no-brainers like exercise, brushing your teeth and taking the meds that your doctor prescribes to you." Closing out the video is a guided meditation experience led by author Damien Echols that can be practiced anywhere and repeated as many times as you'd like.
Teaching your child metacognitive techniques can improve their learning and life skills.
- Metacognition is the idea of "thinking about how we think" - this can give us insight into our feelings, needs and behaviors that allow us to adapt and grow.
- Metacognition can (and should) be taught from an early age to allow for students to do their best in school and in life.
- Simple forms of metacognitive thinking techniques can be taught at home and in the classroom.
Why children should learn metacognition from an early age<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNjM2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNzI4MzUwMX0.rUZDnHDz-ATJTVDu4-8U4nv84X5rnGzAWCSN9UlDYh0/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C351%2C0%2C0&height=700" id="28119" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4d8ec0d774cb198fcd2ae27aebcdaa6d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="children standing on bright yellow background holding books concept of school learning metacognition" />
Metacognitive thinking in children can allow them to adapt and overcome obstacles at school and in life.
Photo by Rawpixel.com on Shutterstock<p>In simple terms, metacognitive thinking teaches us about ourselves. According to Tamara Rosier, a learning coach who specializes in metacognitive techniques, thinking about our thinking creates a perspective that allows us to adapt and change to what the situation needs.</p><p>A simple example of metacognitive thinking (or reframing) is this: </p><p><em>"Math tests make me anxious."</em> This is a statement, a thought. Turning to metacognition, this train of thought evolves into<em> "What about math tests make me anxious...and what can do I to change that?"</em> </p><p>According to Rosier, children who are taught to think of themselves as being either "good" or "bad" at a particular task can end up with a fixed mindset that makes them passive in approaching a challenge relating to that task. However, teaching kids to become more metacognitive helps them develop a mindset that leaves more room for growth and adaptation, promoting self-awareness and resilience.</p><p>This isn't just a theory, there are many studies that prove the worth of teaching metacognition to children. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810013000068" target="_blank">Research suggests</a> that as students' metacognitive abilities increase, they also achieve at higher levels. </p><p>Even beyond academic learning, metacognition can help young people gain awareness of their own mental states so they can begin to answer important questions like "how do I live a happy life?" and "how do I feel good about myself?"</p>
How can we teach our children metacognitive thinking?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUwNjM2OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MjQ0MjMwN30.dZjm64puC1SltpbYsJzQEgYsyJvfBqTK-JV9Xfqy7a8/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C87%2C0%2C87&height=700" id="9e72d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80b44c15587c39705ddfc7488eaf365e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="" />
Teaching children metacognition can happen at school and at home with just a few simple tricks...
Photo by ImageFlow on Shutterstock<p><strong>Teach children how their brains are wired for growth and productivity.</strong></p><p>How your child thinks about learning will greatly impact their performance while learning. <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ryan_Korstange/publication/330563817_Developing_Growth_Mindset_Through_Reflective_Writing/links/5c4861b8299bf12be3ddba12/Developing-Growth-Mindset-Through-Reflective-Writing.pdf" target="_blank">Research shows</a> that when students are able to develop a growth mindset (compared to a fixed mindset), they are more likely to engage in reflective thinking about how they can learn and grow which serves as motivation to do so. </p><p><strong>Provide opportunities to reflect on what they've learned.</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-pathways-metacognition-in-classroom-marilyn-price-mitchell" target="_blank">According to Edutopia</a>, higher-order thinking skills are able to be fostered when students recognize their own cognitive growth. Simple questions like<em> "before this test, I thought earthquakes were caused by _____, but now, I understand them to be caused by ______."</em> </p><p>This kind of thinking promotes the idea that they have learned a new fact or acquired a new skill, which allows them to become more motivated to learn and grow. A very simple way of doing this could be having students keep an education journal where they track things like what tasks they found easy each week at school, what assignments they found most difficult, and what new things they learned as a result of their studies. </p><p><strong>Simple interactions in the classroom can promote metacognition.</strong></p><p>Even the way teachers interact with students can help improve metacognition. Before a class, a teacher could give a few tips on how to actively listen and learn. Following the class, the teacher could ask students to write down three key points from the class. After, the teacher should share what they believe to be three key points from the class and ask students to self-check how closely their answers matched the teacher's answers. </p><p>This activity is able to increase active listening and improve metacognitive monitoring skills at the same time. </p><p><strong>Making the most of "teachable moments" everywhere (at home, in the classroom, etc.) </strong></p><p>You can model metacognition by talking through problems. Children can learn a lot from listening to their parents or teachers use higher-order thinking strategies (or metacognitive thinking) out loud. </p><p>Taking advantage of "teachable moments" like this can allow children to see metacognitive thinking in action and promote the idea that everyone makes mistakes and the best way to correct those mistakes is to work them through and think about it as an opportunity to learn and improve. </p>
Can thinking about the past really help us create a better present and future?
- There are two types of counterfactual thinking: upward and downward.
- Both upward and downward counterfactual thinking can be positive impacts on your current outlook - however, upward counterfactual thinking has been linked with depression.
- While counterfactual thinking is a very normal and natural process, experts suggest the best course is to focus on the present and future and allow counterfactual thinking to act as a motivator when possible.
“Upward” versus “downward” counterfactual thinking<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ1NDYxOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDM2MDY2OX0.njWs1qrV1vDBxU1V75tUduUW4TjJvEHglDWsK8ZF2l4/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C556%2C0%2C209&height=700" id="a15fa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="98314d4d2b256ed08f42d369fe4ae080" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of man thinking about the past one line drawing counterfactual thinking" />
What are upward and downward counterfactual thinking?
Image by one line man on Shutterstock<p><strong>What is upward counterfactual thinking?</strong></p><p>Upward counterfactual thinking happens when we look at a scenario and ask ourselves "what if" in terms of how our life could have turned out better. </p><p>Examples of upward counterfactual thinking are: </p><ul><li><em>"I wish I had taken that other job instead of this one 10 years ago - my life would be so much better if I had." </em></li><li><em>"I wish I would have gotten the part in that high school play, maybe I could have gotten into a theatre school and became an actor…"</em> </li></ul><p>Both of these examples have the ideology that if you had made different choices, your life right now would be improved. </p><p><strong>What is downward counterfactual thinking?</strong></p><p>Downward counterfactual thinking is, naturally, the opposite of upward counterfactual thinking in that we think about how things could have been worse if other decisions had been made. </p><p>Examples of downward counterfactual thinking are: </p><ul><li><em>"I'm so thankful I studied secondary education in university instead of psychology like I had originally planned - I love teaching high school kids and I never would have gotten to do that…" </em></li><li><em>"I'm so happy I left David when I got the chance, I can't imagine still being in an unhappy marriage with someone who doesn't support me…"</em> </li></ul><p>In these examples, we see the idea that if you had made different choices your life would not be as good as it is right now. </p>
How counterfactual thinking can impact your life<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQ1NDYxNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjI2MDQxOX0.DIVQ-Yk0d6yE3tc743MH1Fz2pOg1TGHLmhp8dPp9UdY/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=700" id="522d7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="da7df6ad916b043e3610223900d0f8df" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man thinking what if written on chalkboard" />
How do upward and downward counterfactual thinking impact your life?
Photo by Brasil Creativo on Shutterstock<p>While many people don't see the point in "what if" scenarios, various studies have found that downward counterfactual thinking can be more associated with psychological health compared with upward counterfactual thinking. Not only that, but research has also shown upward counterfactual thinking can be linked with current and future depression.</p> <p><strong>Downward counterfactual thinking tends to be more associated with psychological health </strong></p><p>According to a <a href="http://journal.sjdm.org/jdm06136.pdf" target="_blank">2000 study</a>, downward counterfactual thinking can be linked with better psychological health compared to upward counterfactual thinking. More importantly, in cases where downward counterfactual thinking did lead to negative feelings, those feelings acted as something of a motivator for people to take productive actions to better their current situation. </p> <p><strong>Upward counterfactual thinking tends to be more associated with depression </strong></p><p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272735816301714#:~:text=An%20upward%20counterfactual%20(as%20opposed,Markman%20and%20McMullen%2C%202003)." target="_blank">According to a 2017 study</a> that pooled a sample of over 13,000 respondents, thoughts about "better outcomes" and regret (upward counterfactual thinking) were associated with current and future depression. </p> <p><strong>Downward counterfactual thinking can actually improve your relationships and is more often engaged in by women than men.</strong></p><p>In a <a href="https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/bitstream/handle/1951/67589/Studer_Thesis.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y" target="_blank">2016 research paper submitted</a> to the Department of Psychology at the State University of New York at New Paltz, downward counterfactual thinking in regards to romantic relationships was associated with relatively positive relationship outcomes. Interestingly, women were more likely than men to engage in downward counterfactual thinking about their romantic life. </p> <p><strong>Upward counterfactual thinking can have some benefits in certain scenarios. </strong></p><p>When we look back after a failed test and think "I wish I would have studied more" - this motivates us to study harder the next time a test comes up. In this way, upward counterfactual thinking (or the negative version of "what if") can actually benefit us. </p> <p><strong>This can be difficult, though, because much of the time upward counterfactual thinking is more associated with a pessimistic outlook that can be unmotivating. </strong></p> <p>Thinking in the past tense can be motivational (and even healthy) at times, but the best thing to do is look forward. </p><p>While counterfactual thinking as a whole can be used to motivate us to make better choices or appreciate where we are in life, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/darwins-subterranean-world/201809/the-psychology-what-if" target="_blank">this Psychology Today</a> article suggests that we should come up with ways to move on and focus on the present and the future instead of the past. Using counterfactual thinking as a motivational tool can be very helpful if we don't get stuck in the "what if" mindset that tends to pull us out of the present and back into the past, where things will always remain the same. </p>
The year 2020 will go down in history as one that shook our inner and outer worlds.
Research suggests we need to create a new kind of work-life balance to prevent burnout while working from home.
- Over the last decade, remote working has become more and more popular. Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 62% of people are now working from home.
- Up to 40% of survey respondents say they feel more productive while working from home. However, there are also negative impacts, such as not taking as many breaks. "Employee burnout" is increasing at an alarming rate.
- Telecommuting and remote working will be the norm long after the pandemic, according to many outlets. There are things we can do to ensure we are maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Remote working versus working in an office<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQwMzg5NC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDQwNjk5NH0.9sY-gXgXN7T-3IyFrIGeFPVDQLZB79amjZxgachS83Y/img.jpg?width=980" id="feb7e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f671e5d5b826d13d7b7fe18e5296e3db" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="person sitting on the floor with a laptop, cat, and spreadsheets around them" />
Working at home presents different challenges than working in the office, and with remote working becoming the norm, we need to create a new kind of work-life balance to prevent burnout.
Photo by Creative Lab on Shutterstock<p>While there are many benefits to working from home (40.1 percent of survey respondents say they did feel more productive while working from home), there are also things we need to be conscious of with this new remote work normality.</p><p><strong>You may actually be working more hours at home than you do at work.</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.bluejeans.com/blog/future-of-work-2020-remote-work-survey-results#:~:text=Across%20our%20survey%20population,%20remote,additional%204.64%20hours%20per%20day.&&x-clickref=1011l9guUxfc&utm_source=skimlinks_phg&utm_medium=partnerize&utm_content=ecom" target="_blank">Across this survey,</a> remote workers were adding an additional 3.13 hours per day working from home compared to when they worked in the office. People who said they felt more productive at home than at the office were reportedly working an additional 4.64 hours per day. </p><p>While this may not seem like a big change at first, over time it can become detrimental to your mental health and your productivity. <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-employees-feeling-burnout-rises-top-stressor-list-justin-black/" target="_blank">According to new data</a>, employee survey comments surrounding "burnout" have doubled from 2.7 percent in March to 5.4 percent in April.</p><p><strong>Your eating and exercise habits may become worse while you're working from home.</strong></p><p>Along with potential burnout, picking up bad habits while working from home is another thing to be wary of. According to the <a href="https://www.bluejeans.com/blog/future-of-work-2020-remote-work-survey-results#:~:text=Across%20our%20survey%20population,%20remote,additional%204.64%20hours%20per%20day.&&x-clickref=1011l9guUxfc&utm_source=skimlinks_phg&utm_medium=partnerize&utm_content=ecom" target="_blank">Bluejeans survey</a>, 39 percent of people are reaching for salty snacks over healthy ones. Additionally, nearly 50 percent of respondents say they have not been able to exercise regularly since they switched from office to remote working. </p><p><strong>Distractions can cut your productivity.</strong></p><p>The hustle and bustle of home life can also take a toll on your productivity. Taking care of kids (27.6 percent), scrolling through social media (26.5 percent) and checking on the news (26.1 percent), along with getting distracted by streaming services and television shows (9.7 percent) are among the most commonly reported distractions that remote workers face, cutting into their productivity during working hours.</p>
Healthy changes to make when you're working from home<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQwMzg5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MzA4NTI3N30.cAWiaP10VoutwuflzE0KITL-rolqCalO5iFv0xjXZdA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C52%2C0%2C52&height=700" id="5fc4d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2c6719e1290ba11745e9b1aa51b6abe7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="woman leaning backwards with her head on her desk and her eyes closed" />
Taking breaks throughout the work-from-home day (even as little as 10 minutes) can allow you to become more productive during working hours.
Photo by stockfour on Shutterstock<p>This shift in remote working has proven many jobs are capable of being done at home, and <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2020/04/06/telecommuting-will-likely-continue-long-after-the-pandemic/" target="_blank">several outlets</a> are reporting that telecommuting will likely continue for quite some time, even after the pandemic.</p><p>While there are many benefits from remote working (such as lower fuel emissions, less waste, more productivity in some instances along with containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus), there are also some changes that need to be made if this is going to continue longer term.</p><p><strong>Separate your home and work responsibilities. </strong></p><p>Between scrolling through social media, checking the news, and taking care of your children, you may be feeling the pressure to crack down more than the usual to slow down, but new research shows just how important it is to take breaks while working from home.<br></p><p><a href="https://www.jobillico.com/blog/en/yes-you-still-need-to-take-breaks-while-working-from-home/#:~:text=Taking%20work%20breaks%20leaves%20us,likely%20to%20seek%20employment%20elsewhere." target="_blank">This article explains</a>: "Work and home are two separate places for a reason. Both require our attention and effort but in different ways. Completing work assignments and fulfilling personal responsibilities are both important things we do every day and having these two worlds physically separate helps us channel our energy the proper way at the proper time." </p><p>Removing that separation, although necessary and even beneficial in some instances, can cause us to become overwhelmed. </p><p><strong>Take regular breaks from work, even just for 10 minutes. </strong></p><p>When there is a lack of separation in our home and work lives, it can lead to a feeling of "always being on"—which is how burnout happens. Taking breaks throughout the day and "signing off" for period of home-time allows us to be productive at work and recharge during the restful periods. Even a break as short as <a href="https://www.jobillico.com/blog/en/10-things-to-do-with-your-10-minute-break/" target="_blank">10 minutes</a> can help increase your productivity and keep you from burning out.<br></p><p><strong>Perhaps the solution is working less days per week at home. </strong></p><p>According to <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/11/04/776163853/microsoft-japan-says-4-day-workweek-boosted-workers-productivity-by-40?t=1592549642729" target="_blank">this 2019 study</a>, a 4-day workweek can improve worker's productivity by up to 40 percent. In <a href="https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/big-idea-for-the-new-decade-4-day-week-phenomenon-told-in-new-book-300934244.html" target="_blank">a 2018 survey in New Zealand</a>, a trust management company explained they saw a 20 percent gain in employee productivity and a 45 percent increase in employee work-life balance after testing out the 4-day work week. </p>