Skip to content

You are viewing the stress tag archive.

A natural antidote to stress

These days stress can feel like a constant companion.  It’s present in our daily lives, at work, and even in the minds of our students.  Stress stinks.  We have discussed how stress can evolve to toxic levels which can threaten proper development and learning.

Even here the laws of physics apply: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In this case, our bodies create a natural antidote to stress: oxytocin.

Oxytocin is a hormone (just like cortisol) with the power to counteract stress.  Oxytocin is also responsible for family bonding, generosity, trusting new people and compassion for others.

What’s more, we can control our levels of oxytocin.  When we are treated kindly, our levels of oxytocin increase.  When we share experiences with loved ones, oxytocin spikes.

Interestingly, dog owners have a slight advantage when it comes to increasing their levels of oxytocin.  This study compared increases in oxytocin after playing with dogs and cats and found that the only subset which experienced increased oxytocin were dog owners who were playing with a dog.

The study piqued my interest.  It’s ripe for classroom discussion and is a perfect segue into analyzing experimental design and results data.  Of course, it’s also a wonderful tool to give to students.  Imagine how empowered those who deal with chronic stress would be to know that a K9 companion could soothe their stress.

Are you a pet owner?



Leave a Comment

Is meditation what’s missing?

Who doesn’t want a more zen classroom?  Even students yearn for peace of mind.  Have you heard about educators who are embracing meditation as an avenue to promote calm and focus in their classrooms?  Some schools are doing this alongside a yoga practice, while others are simply instilling “quiet time.”  The data on this mirrors data from other types of social and emotional learning (SEL) = school success rates go up!  This infographic graphic from Edutopia says it all.

Meanwhile, this group is bringing mindfulness to classrooms in the UK.  They have lead massive group meditation sessions with thousands of students.  Pretty impressive!  I especially like their resources, which include a story narrative to explain to younger kiddos how peace and happiness come together in meditation.

Later this week, I’ll have another lesson download.  It’s an inquiry based exploration of classroom meditation!



Leave a Comment