Carnegie Mellon University

Director's Corner: Strive to Thrive

This year, we chose the whole school theme of HEALTHY MIND & BODY so that together we can learn how to take good care of ourselves and others. We will explore balanced strategies for healthy eating, exercising, sleeping, keeping ourselves clean and safe, etc. We will also talk about the ways we can feed, exercise and rest our minds so that we can do our best thinking and learning at home and at school. We invite you to join us in focusing our own efforts so that we can help the children build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

As part of our staff preparation for the new school year, we read and discussed Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder (Harmony Books, 2015). Though we are all at different points in our personal journeys toward health and wholeness, each of us resonated with the overall message and identified ways to more proactively foster our own well-being. More importantly, we recognized ways that we could begin to intentionally support children’s development of healthy minds and bodies.

If possible, give yourself the gift of time to read the book. If not, you can get the overall message by visiting Thrive Global. “Thrive Global’s mission is to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance well-being, performance, and purpose, and create a healthier relationship with technology… Thrive Global is committed to accelerating the culture shift that allows people to reclaim their lives and move from merely surviving to thriving.”

In some ways, the recommendations are simple. Get a good night’s sleep. Breathe deeply. Listen carefully. Seek connection with yourself, others, and nature to build sustaining relationships. Walk, eat, commute, etc. mindfully so that you are fully present in each moment. As educators and parents nurturing young children, we know all too well that the actual practice of these straightforward recommendations is challenging, especially with the fast pace of city life, the stresses of our academic context, and the intrusions of technology. We know that balance is the key, but it seems ever more elusive. Huffington suggests a variety of powerful practices that will guide individuals and families to effective balance, such as reconnecting with wonder through nature or art and “going beyond ourselves and stepping out of our comfort zones to help serve others”. Both practices broaden our world views and connect us with others in life-giving ways.

At this point in our individual and family journeys, we have the opportunity to collaborate to enhance our children’s living and learning. Watch the monthly newsletters for ideas you can use at home, as well as opportunities for involvement in the school and the community. Throughout the year, we are partnering with CMU’s new Associate Vice President for Community Health and Well-Being, Maureen Dasey-Morales, and the Program Director for Student Affairs Wellness Initiatives,  Angie Lusk. See CMU Campus Wellness to learn more about these initiatives related to the themes of Be Well, Be Mindful, and Be Connected.

In my future columns, I’ll discuss how educators and parents can together foster the “seven essential life skills every child needs”, as proposed by Ellen Galinsky in Mind in the Making. We hope you’ll join us in pursuing these priorities and seeking a healthy lifestyle for our minds and bodies this year!