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Mindful : October 2015
mindful awareness of our emotional experi- ences, we build greater self-awareness. We develop the ability to recognize our emotions and understand the role they play in our teach- ing. Mindfulness also helps us develop self-reg- ulation. We learn to understand and anticipate our emotional patterns of reactivity. Research has demonstrated that practicing mindfulness builds connections in the brain that support our ability to regulate emotions. Positive emotions are much more subtle and easy to miss. We can find positive emotions and the physical sensations associated with them reflected in our lang uage. “Open-hearted” and “warmhearted” express the feelings we get in our chest area when we feel love, joy, and other posi- tive emotions. To “pour your heart out” expresses the fluidity we experience when we put our pos- itive emotions to work. Other positive emotional idioms include “jump for joy,” “look on the bright side,” and “have a soft spot.” When we become more familiar with the physical sensations of pos- itive emotions, we are more likely to notice that we are feeling positive and savor the feeling. There have been many situations where I have been flooded with positive emotions in response to my students’ learning. One dramatic example occurred when I was teaching a small class of five children in a psychiatric hospital. Sammy was a five-year-old boy who had severe → As we apply mindful awareness to our emotional experiences, we develop the ability to recognize our emotions and understand the role they play in our teaching. October 2015 mindful 53