“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.” ~ Pema Chödrön
Waylon spoke with Tessa Zimmerman who grew up having debilitating panic attacks in elementary school. When Tessa was 12, she got offered a full scholarship to a private school that prided itself on mindfulness and positive psychology. The school believed in the value of teaching that the wisdom of responding to emotions, rather than reacting, was just as important as academics.
It was this pivot point in her young academic career that changed her whole life path. Tessa saw that her anxiety was something she could live with and not be debilitated by. This realization shifted her life path for doing good for the world through social entrepreneurship.
Tessa leads Asset, a non-profit that brings mindfulness to schools. Asset teaches the value of emotional intelligence. In a culture of perfectionism and obsession over proving our self worth and prove ourselves to be enough, Tessa’s efforts teach young people that emotions are normal, there is no good and bad, and there’s power to feeling your heart.
Asset teaches teens that if mindfulness doesn’t seem “cool” in school, “sneaky mindfulness” is a way to be a better human, and ultimately happier in the classroom. Asset techniques include body scanning, breath work, and meditation. ~
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Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson