Lausanne Middle School Head Greg Graber is celebrating the release of his new mindfulness book this week, a journey that has been over a decade in the making.
Graber’s initial foray into mindfulness was less than stellar.
“My wife dragged me to a class about a decade ago," Graber said. "This is before it was mainstream. I thought it was weird, kind of fringe... I swore I would never go back.”
Shortly thereafter, Graber, an avid runner and reader, came across an article about how meditation and conscious breathing could benefit him as a distance runner.
“The article was straightforward. It highlighted the science behind it. Nothing esoteric. I was hooked.”
Before too long, Graber starting thinking about ways to implement mindfulness in the middle school to help bolster students’ focus, emotional regulation and cognitive control. Lausanne Headmaster Stuart McCathie gave Graber the greenlight, and he started attending workshops and earning certifications. Before too long, the optional Unplugged Program was born. This eventually morphed into the Mindful Moment, which is practiced before every middle school class.
The “Mindful Moment” (typically from 30 seconds to two minutes) assists the students in getting focused and ready to learn. Mindfulness trainers also come to campus several times per year to lead teachers through mindfulness sessions to help them better deal with stress and fatigue.
Scientific research on mindfulness in schools the past decade reveal benefits for students including:
The programs have been so successful that Graber now consults with other schools around the nation on how to develop mindfulness programs at their institutions. In addition, he regularly conducts mindfulness training with top sports teams like the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, LSU, VCU, the University of Memphis and Mount Saint Mary’s University as well as organizations like Hilton Worldwide Hotels, Shamrock Foods and the Virginia Department of Corrections.
His work has been featured in the New York Times, ESPN and he has presented at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
This week, Graber’s book, Slow Your Roll- Mindfulness for Fast Times, will be released. In the how-to book, he shares stories about how the program started at Lausanne and some of his work with well-known coaches and athletes.
“Greg Graber has been extremely influential in my life by helping me manage my time and stress levels," Sacramento Kings Head Coach Dave Joerger shared. "Because of Greg’s mindfulness training, I’ve been able to find small pockets of time to mentally recharge and maintain focus throughout the day.”
The book is available in hardback, paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online, plus local bookstores.
Graber is dedicating a portion of the proceeds from the book to the middle school program here at Lausanne.
Click here to order the book.