Walk With Your Mind; Run With Your Heart
January 18, 2017
He stood on the ledge. The open window of his boarding room dorm taunted him. A plastic knife was in his hand. He heard nothing; nothing but noise.
Benjamin Kheng is an actor and musician with synesthesia, a condition that makes him highly sensitized to external stimuli, namely, sounds. He hears in color. Before being diagnosed, he thought that his anxiety due to overstimulation, and his sensitivity to the world around him was his fault. He begins his TEDxYouth Talk by recounting the day he stood on that ledge, contemplating taking his own life. And what realization stayed his hand, and propelled him into a successful career in the arts.
Benjamin realized that “We are the main characters… but we’re also the script writers… we decide how the main character lives. We decide how he looks, how he feels, what his traits are. Do I let people hang labels on me, or do I craft my own labels? I am writing the script. I am living the story. I’m not living out someone else’s script. They can say anything that they want, but it doesn’t stick, because I have the pen. That’s what stopped me from hurting myself that day in the boarding room window.”
This mindfulness is what led Benjamin to switch from the path he had been lead down all his life to choosing one in the arts. As many online students do, he realized that he had to take control over his life, and choose the path that would best serve him, and allow him to share his purpose with the world.
Since that fateful day on the ledge, Benjamin has learned to appreciate and harness the anxiety, the “noise” of his everyday world. He now uses the magic of his condition to help remind him that he holds the pen that writes his life story.
Why Aren't Traditional Schools Teaching You Mindfulness?
January 16, 2017
AnneMarie Rossi finishes her TED-xYouth talk, and the audience is electrified. Then a boy lets out a loud whoop, and the audience bursts into thunderous applause. Rossi has just finished telling a packed audience full of young students about how mindfulness can change their lives. There’s only one issue. Traditional school systems don’t teach it.
Mindfulness is defined as: “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
For students who have flocked to the progressive approach of online schooling, mindfulness has already begun tapping at their door. Vacating an institution that many accept as the only option indicates a high sense of awareness and mindful problem-solving. After all, if a system put in place as a vehicle to improve your life isn’t working for you, then why not find a new one?
So what do you need to know about Mindfulness?
First off, realize that mindfulness is a skill: “The ability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time is a skill, and it requires practice.” Rossi uses the example of Kobe Bryant. He is already a skilled basketball player. Yet, he still practices.
Why should the upcoming generation practice mindfulness? Rossi tells us that “There exists literally thousands of studies that shows us mindfulness practice decreases depression, anxiety, and stress; increases overall feelings of well-being, happiness, focus, attention, and academic achievement.” Becoming mindful of one’s emotions, breathing, and environment, creates a land of choice. Overwhelmed and need to unplug? You can choose to shut off your phone. Someone being awful to you? You can choose to observe their sad display without being reactive.
Where I Keep My Secrets
January 14, 2017
The New Year is here! If you’re like most people in the world, you’ve thought about what you’d like to change in 2017: what you’d like to learn, to do better, to stop doing, to discover, or simply great habits you’ve already cultivated that you want to keep up. Resolutions don’t have to start with the cheer of the ball drop in Times Square, but regardless of when you make them, committing to changing your life for the better is never easy. If it was, self-improvement books wouldn’t be the thriving business it is today. One of the best ways for young adults to stay connected with their goals is to start a journal.
No matter what you’ve resolved, putting them on the front page of a fresh journal and reading them every morning will help enforce the goals you’ve set for this next beautiful year of your life. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Journaling is hard to maintain. (Raise your hand if your room contains at least two journals you’ve excitedly begun, then deserted as, well, life happened.)
@SoulPancake’s New-Age Creator SoSonia shares some tips for helping you along your journey.