Are the Walls Closing In? Consider Joining Us: May 22nd at 1PM

When the Walls Are Closing In: A Game-Changing Workshop for Stressed Teens and Tweens

Prior to COVID-19’s emergence, teens and tweens were already articulating an increase in stress. Suicidal thoughts or other suicide-related outcomes increased by 47% from 2008 to 2017—three years before our current hybrid world of distance learning and increased dependence on technology. Almost 80% of American high school or college students reported “educational disruptions due to COVID-19.” A full 80% of these students admitted to suffering from increased stress due to these disruptions.

In the past decade of teaching English to adolescents, I feel and see the concerning statistics firsthand. I do not need to study statistics to know that our teenagers stress levels are increasing. In the past month alone, students have reached out to inform me that they are:

  • lacking motivation
  • depressed
  • anxious
  • “shutting down”

At least twice a week, I will receive emails late at night, apologizing for how they feel, asking if they could have an extension on an assignment, requesting to meet during Office Hours regarding a personal problem that’s weighing on them. A couple have reached out to share their thoughts of suicide with me. 

The statistics, however, help to confirm what I’m witnessing firsthand:

  • 70% of teens in the US have named depression or anxiety as a major problem among their peers
  • 75% of high school students and 50% of middle school students described themselves as “often or always feeling stressed by schoolwork.”
  • Teen stress is perceived as higher than their adult counterparts: On a ten-point scale, where normal values for adults are 3.8, American teens rated their stress rate at an average score of 5.8

Something must change. Our teens are hungry for a change. This Saturday, May 22nd, Gena Davis, a certified yoga and meditation teacher and I will be offering a 1-hour workshop for adolescents to experience a powerful opportunity to shift their perspective through writing, yoga, and meditation. The workshop is designed to empower and increase a sense of inner peace that students can take with them.

The title of the course is inspired by a 6th grader who recently expressed to me, “I just feel like the walls are closing in.” A heartfelt thank you to this brave student. Because of you, our workshop was born.

While the workshop is geared to teens and tweens, if you are looking for a shift in perspective, I encourage you to attend the event this Saturday, May 22nd. Click on the link below for details, and I hope to see you there!

https://tinyurl.com/4innerpeace

Source: http://www.guide2research.com/research/student-stress-statistics

Proprioceptive Thinking: The Sixth Sense

Lost your way? The Proprioceptive Question will guide you to the answer.

Proprio what? And what the heck does it have to do with a 6th sense??

Last summer, a dear friend of mine (Steve Bernstein, author of Stories from the Stoop) introduced me to a gem of a book: Writing the Mind Alive: The Proprioceptive Method for Finding Your Authentic Voice. Co-authors, Dr. Metcalf and Dr. Simon offered a form of meditation through proprioceptive writing. Through a powerful yet simple ritual of writing to baroque music on unlined paper, we possess the ability to create a conduit between our inner and outer world.

But not all of us are writers. Some of us find meditation in running or baking or gardening. So, I began to wonder: Could the proprioceptive method work in other forms of life?

Proprius is Latin for “one’s own” and typically refers to our body’s proprioceptive system. We are regularly taking in life through our five senses, transmitting whatever information comes into our brain, processing “from the inner world of our bodies, the world we alone inhabit.” (Metcalf and Simon). It’s this proprioception that allows us to feel our bodies, as our own. It’s why, when we have a stroke or illness, we can sometimes lose the feeling of literal embodiment. 

The 6th sense is the invaluable gift we all have to synthesize our five senses, reacting to the world around us on a physical, mental and spiritual plane. But we often lose awareness of our 6th sense, even take it for granted while we are healthy. We run on autopilot and can lose the gift of self-reflection.

Enter proprioceptive thinking—a cognitive and spiritual launching pad for those moments when you’ve lost your way, when you’re uncertain about a relationship or a situation, when you’re anxious or depressed. While proprioceptive writing involves handwriting to slow down and answer the proprioceptive questions throughout what is known as a Write, proprioceptive thinking is an opportunity to ask a proprioceptive question—either aloud or in your mind.

So, what is “the” proprioceptive question?

What do I mean by _____________________________?

Think of the above blank as your metacognitive/spiritual Mad Libs:-)Into the blank goes whatever is going through your mind as you draw, talk, swim, cook. 

I’ll give an example from my own life now. Today was spent collecting pathetic drops of water from the spigot outside my house. I was trying to garner enough water to flush a toilet in my home.

My proprioceptive question is:  What do I mean by pathetic?

By asking the proprioceptive question, I am slowing down, using language as a tuning fork for my intuition. Slowing down literally awakens our gut (and our gut is lined with millions of nerve cells that actually “talk” to the brain).

At heart I’m a writer. I can ask the proprioceptive question in my head, but the revelations flow from my pencil.

What do I mean by pathetic? I mean it’s three days without a shower or running water. Pathetic that so many people are living without water and heat and electricity for days now. Pathetic as in sad. Houston, we have a big problem. 

I encourage you to consider the proprioceptive question when you are feeling stressed or confused. The question just might recharge your inner compass.