Showing posts with label mindfulness in schools. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mindfulness in schools. Show all posts

Friday, November 16, 2018

How does failure kick you in the butt in order to achieve your goals?






The need to associate only good feelings with our heroes is innate in us.
As a result, our heroes have taken on a life of their own. We don't want our favourite athletes to engage in doping or other unethical behaviour. We don't want our humanitarian or political heroes to be embroiled in sleazy scandals or illegal behaviour.. Our heroes in science should avoid the greatest of all scientific sins: admitting that they were mistaken.
When they fail to match our expectations, we feel justified in criticising them.
We think they're entitled to this humiliation.



Because of their failures, those who backed them in the past have always been questioned by history.



When people establish unrealistically high expectations for themselves, they react by judging themselves harshly for even the slightest accomplishments, such as proving a point in politics or winning an argument. They wind themselves in bitter arguments and ruminating for days about it for no good reason.

Rather than being a solo undertaking, living is an experience shared with millions of other people throughout the world. When you get it wrong, it's not a death sentence, but rather a springboard for more achievement.



The adage "once a failure, always a failure" is simply not true. Some of history's biggest failures were followed by a success that no one could have imagined, even our greatest heroes.

Despite this, we persist in our pursuit of perfection and accuracy as our two closest allies on the road to greatness. Is it true that failure weakens our thinking? Is it possible that by embracing failure, we are making the other person less driven and callous? People who believe that being severe on failure is a good approach to spur growth will be relieved if that response is yes.



Failure is a scientific fact

An MRI study by the University of Southern California and a team of international researchers has found that failure may be turned into a good experience by the brain if it chose to learn from its mistakes. 2.

Researchers have known for years that our brains learn in two different ways.

Avoidance learning is the practise of teaching children to avoid making the same mistakes again by punishing or condemning them when they make mistakes.

The reward-based learning approach is less common, but it works by rewarding the neurons in the brain each time they arrive at the correct response and rewiring their connections in the process.

Redefining mechanisms are activated in instances where there is enough information to assess and analyse the options, rather than defaulting to avoidance.

The finding of a brain region that makes you ponder if you've made a mistake and whether you've been urged to learn, take things in stride, and work on your mistakes was made by Oxford University scientists.

There are a dozen smaller areas in this part of the brain based on scans from 25 men and women. Afterward, the brain scans were compared to those of monkeys.

Incredibly, the brains of the macaque monkey and humans were found to be very different, even though they are our closest cousins. Why we are so good at working with our species and growing to a stage that no other species has even come close to reaching is most likely explained by this fact.

Among the 12 sections of the network, 11 were present in both humans and monkeys, and they were related to other parts of the brain in similar ways.

However, the macaques lacked the lateral frontal pole prefrontal cortex, which is one of our closest relatives.

It's not the first time the brains of humans and monkeys have diverged, but this is the first time a shift this pronounced has been discovered in the region responsible for the ability to change one's mind.

Rather than dwelling on what we could have done differently in other portions of the brain, this new region muses on what we may have done in the first place.

Basically, the lateral frontal pole is like a spouse who is always ready to tell you how easy it would have been to get it right if you'd just listened. To ensure that you don't do it again, the voice of authority advises you to retire to your room and ponder the consequences of your actions...



As a result, failing serves as a catalyst for growth in these areas. There would be no stress if the brain were not distracted by the negative feedback loops, which in turn stimulate our emotional brain (the amygdala). The rumination and disappointment that follow failure are caused by this self-judgement or criticism from others.



There are two equally sized areas in the prefrontal cortex, one of which Antoine Bechara, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California, believes is the source of our fear of failure and our desire for achievement. The argument between risk and reward arises in this context, he explains. These areas interact during the decision-making process in a way that is reminiscent of the devil and the angel sitting on our shoulders. This is a winner-takes-all situation. The conclusion of the debate, therefore, has a significant impact on our reactions. In the event that our previous failures have permanently etched their unfavourable impressions on our brains, there isn't much we can do to reverse the process.


4.    Endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are released in our brains when we achieve accomplishment, which encourages us to continue the activity.
Failure causes our bodies to release cortisol, which causes us to feel rejected and unsafe.


Repetitive patterns of neural activity and brain regions connected with stress have been found in neuroimaging investigations. Scan results show a decrease in activity in the higher, reflecting brains at times of acute stress. Emotional and behavioural reactions are influenced by increased activity in the lower, reactive brain. Reactive networks in the lower brain get more dense and faster, while prefrontal cortex conscious control centres become less connected to each other.



It's better to rewire your brain to grow acclimated to the sense of success than to expect failure, because concentrating on outcomes can strengthen and autonomous neural networks. It is because of this that we react to failure before we are even aware of it. It's easy to remember how many times you've had that sinking feeling before the results are announced.

It is possible to use failure as a springboard to reevaluate our approach and turn adversity into opportunity.



Basically, there are two types of mindsets: one that pushes for perfection and the other that expects it. In order to achieve perfection, one must be willing to recognise that mistakes are a part of the process.



In contrast, we know that perfection is nearly impossible, thus demanding it might lead to a lot of terrible experiences.

Emotional exhaustion and burnout can occur in those who believe that failure is not an option, or who place an unrealistic standard of perfection on themselves and are emotionally exhausted all the time because nothing they do is good enough.



Checking in on the facts



It's an ancient saying that "failure is a good teacher," yet most of us, deep down, believe that 'errorless learning' is better. Failure is no longer an option in today's fast-paced environment. It is widely accepted that if educators, managers, and parents encourage failure, it will lead to a negative future for the person who fails. Some people end up producing a horrible experience because they think they won't do it again.

Suicides and mental health issues in schools and universities are on the rise. This isn't only a problem in the United States; it's a worldwide phenomena. Burnout at work and the desire to change jobs every day is nothing more than an attempt to live up to one's own unrealistic ideals. Boredom is the most frequent disease of the previous decade, and it is simply the human brain's way of expressing "enough" to itself.





Do you have any ideas?



If you're passionate about what you do, failure will sound like a beautiful melody. It will inspire you to keep going.

Set goals that give you "regular acknowledgment feedback of incremental success." Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes motivation, curiosity, perseverance, and memory when it is released by achieving these goals."



If you genuinely want to succeed, you may re-wire your brain's expectations so that your efforts will generate improvement even as the issue grows more difficult. Now is not the time to put yourself through something you don't want to do, like dieting, climbing stadium stairs, or flossing after every meal because you feel like you should. Select a goal that you will like both on the way and at the end of the journey."



Remember that there is a silver lining to stress. It's a good idea to write down all of the things that are stressing you out when you're feeling overwhelmed. Make a list of the things you can control and the things you can't manage, and then choose one of the things you can control and come up with a tiny, tangible measure you can take to lessen that one thing. Your brain can be nudged in the right direction by doing this.

It'Is a good idea to learn how to give constructive feedback to those around you. Your husband or child will be surprised when you compliment them on their blunders. A cascade effect on your approach to failure will be the result of this change.



CCreating a Growth Machine from Failure

After putting in so much effort, it is difficult to have an optimistic outlook, especially if we fail. Changing one's view of failure is a long-term process. We need to rewire our brains in order to break the automation that has been built up in our minds. It's better to look at a broken relationship or a lacklustre performance as a chance to learn rather than dwell on the repercussions.

Learning and dealing with failure should be integrated into the education system, so that we are prepared and learn how to trigger the gamma waves in our brains from an early age. We can become more resilient and successful if we learn to respond rather than react to failure.

Next time we encounter failure, let's remember that "Leaders who have developed a development storey have befriended their worst fear, "Failure," and made them their escorts to drive their success waggon. "

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The untold story of the Murderer in Ryan International school


We have been reading a lot about the gruesome murder of seven-year-old Pradhyuman’s body was found in the washroom of a Ryan International School branch in Gurugram. The botched up investigations by the state police seems further increase the insecurities amongst the parents. Is my child safe in school? To add to the mystery the CBI has come up with another theory of a 16 year old student doing the gruesome act. The fact that a 16 year old child can actually commit a crime of this magnitude in a top international school is not palatable for quite a few parents. What must be the child’s psychological state and was it an act of impulsivity or a prolonged effect of some psychological trauma? What will be the effect on the juveniles mind if this turns out to be a botched up investigation like Aarushi’s murder case? My aim to write the article basically tries to dig deeper into the mind of the juvenile who has been arrested by CBI and finds out the reasons why the child acted in a horrific way. The contributing factors while lead to a criminal mindset and what parents can do about it?
Let’s try to first recap a few points about the case so far.
·       Pradyuman had been dropped outside his school in the morning just before start of school hours and in a matter of 15 minutes, he was found to be lying in a pool of blood, dead.
·       The police arrested a bus conductor as the murder accused even before the passage of a whole day.
·       The Gurugram Police Commissioner boasted that the case will be cracked in 1-2 days.
·       The arrested bus conductor first confessed to committing the murder then retracted the statement, saying the police coerced it out of him.
·       The investigation was handed over to the CBI which after several weeks detained a school student as accused.
·       The CBI has asked for the 16-year-old boy's custody in order to find out if any other people were involved in the crime, and to also unearth the sequence of events leading to Pradyuman Thakur's death, and to "unearth the conspiracy, if any".
·       The CBI has asserted that after inspecting the crime scene, the CCTV footage, movement of students near the crime scene and questioning people in the school, it has identified and apprehended the accused.
·       The CBI's findings in the case came as an embarassement to the state police as the CBI said that a Class XI student who allegedly wanted a parent-teacher meeting and examinations to be postponed had been apprehended in connection with the killing of seven-year-old Pradyuman in Gurugram's Ryan International School.
·       As it has often been seen, wide media coverage and public outcry put investigating agencies under extra pressure.
·       In many cases, failure in proper preliminary investigation, or incomplete/delayed collection of forensic evidence lead to botched up investigations that ultimately make it more difficult for the victim to get justice.
If the crime was committed by the 16 year old boy
The motive of the murder was postponing the parent teachers meeting and examination. It may sound very trivial to most of us but it would be really important to know what led the juvenile of 16 years to actually do the gruesome act. So let’s assume that the juvenile committed the crime. So let’s try to understand his mind
1.     What were the changes in the brain that must have taken place? We all know that “amygdala” a part of the brain which deals with firing emotions develops by the age of 2 and the prefrontal (neobrain) develops by the age of 20 years and for some it may be later. This we label it as maturity. The prefrontal lobe works as a regulator to control emotions like anger, sadness or impulses. In short, kids are without any regulation till the lobe develops completely. Here the role of parents and educator comes into play. Most of the schools do not have curriculum or take active interventions in India into helping the child deal with these raging emotions. So the primary responsibility of helping the child with socioemotional problems lies on the shoulders of the parents. If both parents are working the child is left at the mercy of the caretakers. This creates this dysregulation.A study done in United States where MRI of criminals were done and it was found that most of them had a very thin layer of prefrontal lobe with an enlarged hypertrophied amygdala. Hence when provoke they were unable to regulate their impulsive behavior. Hence, lack of regulation in kid lead to such catastrophe.
2.     The motive was the postponement of examinations. If it hold true, then the children today are highly stressed by the expectations of parents as well as educators to excel in their academics. A study by me where we measured the blood cortisol of school going kids on a normal  day without any examination. We were shocked to see that the average levels of cortisol (207) were actually on the higher side close to the upper limit (210).You can imagine what must be the state of the child when they appear for their examinations. Again lack of regulation will make the child take these drastic steps as it is evident by shootouts in the United States.
3.     The role of gaming and gadgets have further deregulated the children.The ease of availability and addiction of technology  in today’s kids is for everyone to see. At a very tender the age the child learns to shoot someone in a game by a click on the mobile. Violence in cartoons like Chota Bheem are seen by kids of the 6 and 7 years. Since the prefrontal lobe is not developed, the difference between good and bad is not understood by them. Hence we are seeing a rise in violence and aggressiveness among kids. Surprisingly parents themselves want them to be addicted to television initially but later on regret. Social media like Facebook and whatsapp have contributed to isolating a child and interfering in the basic skills of communication. Games like Blue whale have taken undue significance due to poor development of socioemotional skills in the learning phase of teenagers. Typing an emoji saves the body a lot of trouble of making facial expressions but eventually creates plutonic and shallow relationships. You type a wrong emoji and the meaning changes.
4.     Lack of effective programs and interventions in schools focusing on socioemotional behavior and helping children to deal with stress.
5.     Time spend by parents with students has markedly reduced. With the hectic schedules and competitions in today’s world, parents are not giving enough quality time to their children.They themselves are too much involved their own world, the child misses the guidance and compassion of the parents. With a deregulated and agitated system the child is bound to react impulsively. I am not defending the juvenile who committed the crime but simply believe that he is not solely responsible.
What if the Juvenile has not committed the crime?
The marks on the child’s mind where the whole country is gunning for his life are going to be damaging and permanent. The amygdala which is deregulated will fire and lead to the added frustration and anger. This will have an extremely negative impact on his mind which may lead  him to become a hard core criminal or commit suicide depending on the value system. All we can pray that the CBI at least in this case has not goofed up in naming him as the murderer. It may end up destroying the future of a young life.
Way forward
Parents and educators need to take combined responsibility in developing the socioemotional behavior of the children.Teaching them to deal with their impulsiveness.
Some of the tips which may be useful for parents
Talk to your children .Parents need to speak to their children without judging them and advising them. Make them your friend and listen to their problems controlling the urge to advise them if not necessary.
Limiting gadget times. Parents need to fix the gadget times for both themselves and their children. By forcing them to switch of the gadget and parents still using them might not work. Children learn from their parent’s behavior and mimic them.
Giving positive feedback: One of the most depressing thing for a child is to get a negative comment from the parents. Parents are their world especially for young kids. Every negative comment creates disinterest in their studies or activities and widens the gap of understanding between them.
Giving them space. Every child is special and each one has a unique quality and skill. By judging and analyzing them solely on their marks and ignoring their other talents, we destroy their self-confidence and make them more aggressive. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses is done by all parents but very few have the heart to ignore their weakness and help them work on their strengths. There would be only doctors and engineers in the world and no painters or sportsman if academics was the yardstick to success.
For educator and school authorities: Effort should be made by introducing programs to develop the socioemotional behavior of the kids .Active interventions at the right age will prevent the murder of kids like Pradyuman and spoil the future of teenager who murdered him . There are many Pradyumans and teenager who are roaming around with an unregulated mind who need active intervention. My vision is that socioemotional interventions like mindfulness based cognitive therapy will be made compulsory in school curriculum which seems to the need of the hour and save many Pradyumans and the teenage boy.










Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why mindfulness is necessary for Indian Children

Mindfulness is the talking point all over the world in the last few years. It's benefits to all age groups have been thoroughly researched since last 30 years . probably this is the reason big corporates companies like Google, Twitter, Intel, Aetna, Target  are training their employees. Most of the universities and schools globally have introduced mindfulness programs mainly Oxford University, Stanford University etc. What started as a stress Clinic by John Korbat Zin has become a revolution in today's fast moving world. The results in children have taken the world by surprise specially in remarkable increase in focus and concentration.
        "Rahul behave yourself. Is this the way you talk to your friends" or "You are not concentrating on your studies, that is the reason you get less marks".These are the most common discussion in most of the households in major metro cities . Today the most talked about topic in India is Digitalisation and Globalization. India is talking about 4g network and high speed internet. Internet was first accessible only on the computer, then on laptop and going further on tablet. Today is the world where we are talking about high end smart phones with powerful processors.
           So a lot information is continuously fed in our mind from the print as well as social media. This information is also available to young children who are at their developmental stage. In a study it  has shown that kids playing games on phone have developed stronger analytical skills but the socioemotional learning suffers a great deal. This is why see more aggressive behavior by most of the kids.
            Also the distraction from most of the learning activities is a common problem in most of the school going kids. Morality and religion have a strong foundation in India and is the only way parents can make their kids realize their mistakes. The high exposure to the media can at times make it difficult for today's generation to understand this. Most of the parents and teachers will agree the conventional disciplining  doesn't work with most of the kids now days.
        The basic neuroscience behind mindfulness has been extensively researched and it is found the prefrontal lobe in the brain in human child actually develops by the age of 18-20 years. This prefrontal lobe is the one responsible for regulation of our thoughts. So in school going children the emotional instability like anger, ADHD and impulsive behaviour are unchecked, hence at times children do not listen to the elders. Humans are the only mammals who have to depend on the guidance of the elders for such a long time.So there is a need to intervene and impart skills to the kids specially to deal with behavioral issues and skills of focus, Concentration, conflict resolution etc .
Mindfulness is being aware of what is happening now. Another way to describe it is to  consciously bring our attention to the present moment .It can be practiced anywhere unlike meditation where you need a particular place and posture. It can also be described as "a skill beyond meditation" . Since mindfulness is secular, it does not interfere with anyone's religious beliefs. Also basic morality for man kind like gratitude, compassion and empathy  should be taught to modern day children.
There has been extensive research done  all over the world on its effect on young minds. The results beyond doubt has showed marked improvement in focus, Concentration, conflict resolution and emotional stability in all age groups. Most remarkable findings are improvement in their self esteem and decision making abilities.
Kids are less insecure and are more aware of their emotions.
Mindfulness gives them the freedom of choice to refuse or accept the situation which is best suited to them.Every child deserves the choice to choose his reaction before any conflict so he can respond with confidence.
   

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