The Quickest Way You Can Become More Calm and More Focused

find your inner calmI used to be impatient. I don’t mean all the time, but sometimes I’d suddenly realize I was operating in a frantic kind of auto-pilot mode. I would briefly realize my brain was moving a mile a minute, and then before I knew it, my thoughts would be jumping on to some other topic and I would forget all about my concern about being impatient. One thing I did know, I often felt a sense of overwhelm.

Do you ever feel that sensation of being overwhelmed? Do you sometimes wish you could be more relaxed and just turn your brain off or at least onto a slower setting? This is not uncommon. Especially in this day and age where Continue reading

It’s True: You Can Reduce Bullying in Kids With Mindfulness Practice

mindfulness_can_decrease_bullyingYou may be surprised to learn that mindfulness can reduce bullying both in school and at home. Mindfulness can help children and adults become more focused, more relaxed and in many cases happier. This is because the practice of mindfulness creates new neuropathways in the brain. That is what some scientists claim, and thousands of people who practice mindfulness on a daily basis agree with these experts.

You see, the practice of mindfulness is not new. It has been around for centuries. In the last two decades, scientific studies have caused mainstream media and education to take note. Educators have discovered that mindfulness can increase student test scores, help reduce bullying and cause children to be happier and more content. No wonder the practice is becoming more widespread in our public and private education systems.

Not only can mindfulness result in the above positive results, it is easy and inexpensive to implement. Does this sound too good to be true? If you said yes, you’re not alone. There are skeptics who are not yet convinced. If you find the claims hard to believe, try it for yourself. Begin practicing mindfulness in your own life on a daily basis. I suggest twenty minutes a day for six weeks as a start. After your own experience with mindfulness, re-evaluate how you feel about using the techniques to help improve the lives of children.

Would you agree that bullying is often the result of a real or perceived imbalance of power? There are many reasons why children begin bullying others or why children become victims of bullying. Some of these reasons include:

a/ being unhappy and discontented

b/ harboring anger from past incidents

c/ being abused by parents or siblings

d/ exclusion from peer groups

e/ boredom

If mindfulness techniques are introduced properly to children, they will begin to be more calm, happier and less apt to bully others. Children have described the feeling they gain from mindfulness exercises as ‘having a sense of peace’, ‘feeling more relaxed’ and ‘having their brain slowed down’.

Through the practice of mindfulness, children learn to be content in the moment and not dwell on past incidents. They worry less about being unhappy in the future and many say they can think more clearly. Children experience fewer instances of conflict with others as a result of the increased level of calm.

Are you a parent who would love to give your children the gift of clarity and calmness? Are you a teacher who longs for your class to be more focused and relaxed? As a parent and teacher myself, I can tell you I have found success with mindfulness techniques in the classroom and at home. I believe you will too.

Has mindfulness helped you or someone you know? Please share by leaving a comment below.

Inspiring Bullying Quotes so you know you’re not alone

inspiring_bullying_quotesToday I decided to feature some quotes about bullying prevention that I think are inspiring.

Here are the lyrics to a song by Simple Plan:
“No, you don’t know what it’s like / When nothing feels all right
You don’t know what it’s like / To be like me
To be hurt / To feel lost / To be left out in the dark
To be kicked when you’re down / To feel like you’ve been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down / And no one’s there to save you
No, you don’t know what it’s like / Welcome to my life”

Simple Plan


Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk who now lives in France. He is a teacher, author and poet. The following quote by Thich Nhat Hanh helps you empathize with the person responsible for the meanness of bullying:

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Imagine if you’d been in a terrible accident and you needed Continue reading

High School Bullying; Relationships and Abuse

be_kind_always(Submitted by guest blogger, a current high school student – Thanks tons, A.R.)
When bullying comes to mind, thoughts surrounding fighting, comments or pictures circulating the internet and schools come along with it. What we fail to recognize, due to privacy, is that bullying also occurs within relationships whether it’s getting a punch in the face, being objectified or constantly getting yelled at for not being the ideal girlfriend or boyfriend.

Everyone wants to know how it feels to be loved and will do anything to get it, whether that means dressing up like Lady Gaga or wearing their pants low like Lil’ Wayne. Changing yourself to please others is highly common in high schools; teenagers will do everything in their willpower to jump into a relationship for that ideal feeling of being loved. But is it really the love that is sucking everyone in or is it the idea of being loved by someone?

I had a friend in high school who loved the feeling of being Continue reading

Why won’t the bullying stop?

stop_the_bullyingThat’s the question Nisha asked over and over when she was in her first year of high school. She didn’t think she had done anything to deserve it. But sometimes she wondered. She wondered if it was her nationality. She was born in Canada but her parents had moved from South Africa just a year before that.

She thought about whether the bullying might have something to do with her high grades. She had been top of the class in most of her subjects back in elementary school. She knew a few kids were jealous, but she didn’t think she had done anything to make them that way.

Nisha thought about the put-downs a lot of the time. Sometimes the others would talk just loud enough for her to hear bits and pieces of the conversation. She knew they were doing it on purpose, but she had become used to it. More recently, she had Continue reading

Sakura, Baby Metal makes a stand against bullying

Wow. Sakura (Baby Metal) has made a powerful statement – No Bullying, Ever. Here are the lyrics to the song:

No Bullying Ever, by Sakura


Sakura – No Bullying Ever

Though I wanted peace of mind,
I couldn’t even have a chance to dream.
In between the darkness and the twilight,
I stayed alone.

Really those who got hurt were
not only I myself who got actually,
(but) also those who kept on watching me.
It was you.

[Have it!]
I couldn’t have.
[Don’t be beaten!]
I kept on hiding myself.
[I dislike to be found!]
go ‘way. And good-bye to my timidness.

Bullying is, [No good!]
bullying is [No good!]
nothing to boast about. [No! No! No! No!] Continue reading

Can the musical experiences of El Sistema reduce bullying?

el sistemaDo students show more respect and less tendency toward bullying when they start learning, practicing and performing music together?

As a music teacher with lots of hands on experience, I believe the answer to the above question is a resounding ‘YES’. I have personally seen many children benefit from being part of a musical group of some kind.

Let me tell you about ‘el Sistema’. El Sistema was started in 1975 in Venezuela by José Antonio Abreu. At the very start, Jose met with eleven children in a garage to share his love of music with these children.

El Sistema has now grown to be a huge organization with a worthy mission and over 350,000 participants in Venezuela alone. These children all receive free choral and/or orchestral training. The mission of el Sistema is: “to help children and young people in achieving their full potential and acquiring values that favor their growth and have a positive impact on their lives in society” (

El Sistema has now spread to other countries including Canada and the United States.
The five fundamentals of el Sistema are:
1/ Social Change (Main objective is positive social change through musical excellence)
2/ Ensembles (Choral or orchestral)
3/ Frequency (Multiple rehearsals a week)
4/ Accessibility (Programs are free and non-selective)
5/ Connectivity (There are urban, regional and national levels which form a network of services)

I believe children benefit from belonging to a group of some kind where they achieve a positive outcome. El Sistema is one example of such an experience. Children can become surprisingly passionate and devoted to groups of this kind, and they seem to become more respectful, happier and subsequently develop into well rounded individuals. In my opinion, el Sistema is a powerful, positive experience that can increase respect and reduce frequency of bullying occurrences.

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate located in Ontario, Canada.

Cyber-Bullying, Respect and Responsibility Assembly in Toronto area Catholic School

St Julia Billiart Catholic SchoolCyber-bullying programs at St. Julia Billiart Catholic School in Toronto’s Markham area Tuesday May 6, 2014 made an impact on staff and students. The message was about Responsibility and Respect and how Cyber-bullying would not exist if we all took the responsibility for our own actions and made up our minds to live with complete respect. Of course we’re all human, but I like to look at the positive side.

St. Julia students and staff proved to me they are already incredibly respectful and responsible. That’s probably why our cyber-bullying prevention message was so well received. They were interactive and totally tuned into the songs about respect and cyber-safety. They were wide-eyed as they watched the videos. Discussion about bullying and cyber-bullying revealed that Continue reading

Do happy children get bullied more?

happy childrenI enjoy watching happy children. Who doesn’t? There is nothing like spending time with children who are truly happy and show it.

Recently, I spent some time watching a group of children who seemed incredibly happy. I was actually fortunate enough to be able to work with these children. Even though their interactions were not all what we may consider perfect, overall the children were happy and contented.

As a contrast, a couple of weeks ago I did a workshop with a group of grade four children who were definitely not happy. They were constantly at each other. They said mean things to each other and their teacher frequently spoke up to ask them to act more respectfully. By the end of the workshop, they did seem a little more focused and a little more cooperative, but overall, I got the sense that these children were lacking a level of happiness I often see in children.

This got me thinking about the effect happiness has on children. Do you think happy children get bullied less? Do you think happy children get bullied more? Or do you think happiness makes no difference to the level of bullying? You may be a parent or a teacher. You may be a child care worker or a professional. Nevertheless, you probably have an opinion on the above questions.

Please leave me your thoughts in the comment area at the bottom. I will look forward to reading your opinions.

Bruce Langford is an anti-bullying advocate who offers seminars, workshops, assemblies and keynote talks about bullying and respect.

School visit teaches Cyber-bullying Prevention Strategies


Associated Hebrew Schools, Toronto Ontario

Associated Hebrew Schools, Toronto was the location of our anti-bullying and cyber-safety presentations. Students were incredibly responsive to the message. One staff member remarked that she was so impressed at the attentiveness of the student audience. I would certainly agree with her. There were times in the presentation when you could hear a pin drop.

A group of girls talked about cell phones and how they believe personal devices should not be used by students during school hours. ‘It can be completely disruptive in a classroom’, they told me. Of course I agree with the girls about how distracting it can be. Obviously, they had Continue reading