One of our BASIS Independent Brooklyn parents strongly recommended bringing Sam Chase to campus to work with students on mindfulness and meditation. She had seen Mr. Chase work wonders with her hedge fund employees who juggle high-stress projects and competing time demands. As part of Wellness Week for our Upper School, Mr. Chase spoke with our students about the use of mediation and mindfulness to reduce academic anxiety.
"When we have high demands on us, it’s tempting, as I say to students, to 'bulldoze,' but we have to insert pauses to think at our clearest and take stock of what we’re doing," said Dr. Cruz, Director of Student Affairs for the Upper School at BASIS Independent Brooklyn after Mr. Chase's session. "In order to learn well (inside or outside of the classroom), we have to pause, breathe, and listen—to others as well as our own thoughts and questions."
Mr. Chase shared his very personal reason for turning to mindfulness: "I was told by the Rhodes Trust organization that I was the only person who had turned down their scholarship. I had just graduated top of my class from college, and had a panic attack when I learned that I was awarded the honor. That is what led me to turn to meditation and yoga."
Students listened very attentively to Mr. Chase as he related to their experience studying in a rigorous academic environment. He then transitioned into ways mindfulness and mediation could help reduce anxiety.
Parents can learn about his approach and technique in his recent TED Talk. We encourage families to take 15 minutes to listen and find ways to implement the practices at home.
"I loved Sam’s insight about multitasking and how we all think we’re good at it!" commented Dr. Cruz. "I think the best step all of us can take is to practice building the habit of focusing on one thing at a time, even if the duration of time is two minutes. What I take away from Sam’s talk, is that if we have 30 minutes to perform two tasks—even when that amount of time is inadequate (we’re often shorter on time than we want to be)—we would do better to give each one 15 minutes, or one 20 minutes and the other 10 minutes, rather than to try to flip back and forth between both over 30 minutes. This doesn’t show a lack of ambition, rather it increases the quality of our performance with each task."