INNER STEERING WHEEL: SWITCHING GEARS FROM TENSE TO CALM
March 20, 2019
BZZZZZZZZ. Anyone peering into the preschool classroom might assume students were running amuck. Buzzing motor sounds filled the room. Children were laughing and happy pretending to be tense, fast moving cars. Their hands held an Inner Steering Wheel they made, placing X stickers at the bottom of the paper plate to symbolize Tension. Calm gear was symbolized with smiley face stickers on top of the paper plate.
Tense car X’s were on top being held in front of the chest. Taking slow, deep belly button breaths created a Calm car gear looked, felt and sounded very different than the crazy tense cars. Children switched gears by turning the Inner Steering Wheel to smiley faces. They learned how each gear felt, also noticing the whole room changed. Switching gears from tense to calm with one’s own Inner Steering Wheel is the key for integrating this Superkid Power skill into everyday living.
Having a fun experience launched the preschoolers into an internal awareness in an accelerated way. They were learning for themselves and not just learning a fact or rule dictated by someone outside themselves. Motivation changes when we learn for ourselves.
Having 3D objects to relate to internally seals the deal for easier absorption and integration of learning the lesson. Teaching the children the difference between tense and calm inside their bodies lays a foundation for switching from one state to the other for self control. Awareness leads to increased choices in behavior. Without the inner awareness, habits learned from the environment and genetic tendencies remain in tact.
Behavioral incidents and violence against teachers appears to be a national problem, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which reports that 10 percent of public school teachers say they were threatened with injury by a student during the 2015-16 school year.
Understanding that the mind, body and emotions work together as a system in conjunction with breathing is essential. A key player is being able to control tension and calm levels internally, regardless of external circumstances.
Given that 85% of the brain develops by the age of 5, preschool is the optimal time to fuel those developing brains resiliency with self regulation skills. The action of ‘playing’ with the 3D Inner Steering Wheel makes sense to children because they can see the wheel and how it works, then translate the idea into their inner world. They claim it for themselves and can choose self regulation over disruptive behaviors with ongoing encouragement.
3D learning is my forte that I have used for 42 years. It creates a bridge with objects from the outer world to be able to tune into one’s inner resources. Empowering Superkids with these skills enriches quality of life, building character and confidence with healthy choices for self, relationships and academic achievement.
The Superkid Power Guidebook (Amazon) that I authored, states, “Excessive tension build-up in the body can lead to mental confusion, emotional outbursts and imbalances, as well as physical illness (headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, etc.). By knowing the difference between tension and relaxation, children can learn how to appropriately switch gears for self-care maintenance and preventing stress-related illnesses and behaviors.”
Reinforcing the ability to switch gears with 3D learning, I provide drums for every class to experience wild, loud, tense drumming, then taking deep, slow belly button breaths to self-calm, then drumming calmly. I praise children for switching gears. They love it!
Research indicates with each change mentally, there is a corresponding change in emotions and physical sensations or activity and vice versa. Herbert Benson, M.D.,
Harvard Medical School and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine states: “Anything that breaks the train of everyday thought will evoke the physiological state of being more relaxed. Letting go of tension through progressive muscular relaxation, repetitive actions, even playing musical instruments will accomplish a change in mental, emotional and physical state.”
Superkid Power Guidebook by Janai Mestrovich/Amazon
Beeing Calm by Janai Mestrovich/Amazon