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Why Patrick J. Kennedy and Amy Kennedy Support Interaxon & Muse

Patrick J. Kennedy

Former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy and Amy Kennedy are well-known advocates for mental health. After all, Patrick founded One Mind for Research and The Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health, where Amy acts as education director and leads the organization’s objective to improve brain fitness and resilience. So it’s no surprise to hear that Patrick and Amy support Interaxon, the brain health technology company and creator of Muse, the brain-sensing headband that makes meditation easy.

“I am pleased to be joining forces with Interaxon and partnering on important advancements in brain health and wellness, a topic that is near and dear to me,” says Patrick about his and Amy’s appointment as board members to the newly-established Interaxon Advisory Board. “Amy and I strongly support the Interaxon mission to enable people to live happier, healthier lives and we are looking forward to the benefits of this relationship and the positive impact for mental health and wellness as well.”

Patrick, a brain-health advocate and key sponsor of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, is releasing a book co-authored with Stephen Fried in October. A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction, outlines Patrick’s own story while raising a rallying call for equality in the mental health community and recommendations for mental health policy in the future.

“We are thrilled to be joined by Patrick J. Kennedy and Amy Kennedy, two experienced professionals and strong voices in mental health and wellness advocacy, who will be valuable as we continue our rapid growth,” says Ariel Garten, co-founder and CEO of Interaxon, about their appointment. “We are building our robust Interaxon Advisory Board of experienced professionals to help guide the growth of our company as we continue to improve people’s lives through wearable brain sensing technology.”

The Interaxon Advisory Board will augment the Interaxon executive team and provide leadership, guidance and expertise on trends and issues within the brain health and technology industries. It will also act as a leading voice for the company’s interaction with the research, clinical, wellness and performance communities and assist in evaluating new product developments.

Muse Headband Reviews: What People Are Saying

Woman Meditating With Muse: Headband Reviews

Muse, the revolutionary brain-sensing headband, is the world’s first consumer EEG device that measures and lets you hear whether your mind is calm or active as you meditate. While other apps offer recorded meditations, Muse is the only guided meditation tool that provides real-time feedback, challenges and progress tracking, helping you build a regular and effective practice. It’s also being used for research and clinical applications at over 100 health and science centres such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard University. So it’s no surprise that positive Muse reviews are appearing in high-profile publications such as The New York TimesMen’s Health, Prevention magazine and more. Here’s a sampling of those reviews, as well as feedback from satisfied users who are transforming their lives and meditation practice with Muse.

“Muse made me realize how quickly I let stressful thoughts take over my mind—and just how easy shutting them out can be.” Men’s Health – 8 Magic Gadgets to the Rescue

“Amazing. I am a mom of four, so this helps me unwind.” Aneta — Google Play store review.

“Just like you do reps at the gym to build your body muscle, [Muse] treats practicing focus like doing mental reps for your brain muscle.” Fast Company – Plugged In: My Month-Long Mission to Beat the Effects of Technology With More Technology

“If this is a journey from Type A to Zen, I’ve still only taken a few tentative steps from my starting point. Still, they’re steps I wouldn’t have taken on my own — and for that, I give Muse one big, stress-busting, deep breath of approval.” Prevention – The New Way Seriously Competitive People Can Learn To Meditate

“Hugo Alves, a Bay Street lawyer, uses Muse to help him meditate for 10 minutes late in the afternoon—an interval between the treadmill of daytime meetings and the evening catch-up work that awaits him. “My day lasts from 9 a.m. to midnight,” Alves says. “It sucks. On days I use Muse, I find I am able to be more focused and a bit less scattered.” Globe & Mail Ashton Kutcher loves this Toronto start-up

“I’ve been using [Muse] for two months now and it definitely has me more engaged in doing daily meditation—more than anything else in my 30 years of mindfulness practice.” Mark—Amazon store review.

“Picking up where meditation-focused mobile apps like Headspace and its own Calm [app] leave off, the Muse Headband comes personally recommended by [Robin] Berzin [MD] of Parsley Health.” Yahoo! Health 6 Next-Level Health and Fitness Innovations to Try Today

“I am really loving this Muse! I must say I was a bit skeptical when I first read about it. I’ve tried lots of other feedback machines but none of them do what Muse does.” Abby—iTunes App Store review.

“It’s the gift of a sound mind.” New York Times – The Daily Gift: a Gadget That Trains the Brain

“After several sessions with Muse, I did feel that I was able to maintain my focus better. I also felt relaxed and clearheaded after each session.” Consumer Reports – Muse EEG headband promises to boost your relaxation and concentration

“For those who need a tech aid, this brain-wave monitor and accompanying app can sense when you are agitated and help you calm down.”  Yoga Journal – Best Tools To Find Inner Zen

“[Natasha Dow Schull at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology] likes Muse, the brain-wave monitoring headband intended to help people understand their state of mind by playing different sounds depending whether they are distracted or calm. She describes the three-minute Muse sessions as technology-assisted meditation training, techniques that people can then try as they go about their day without the headband.” The New York TimesTechnology That Prods You To Take Action, Not Just Collect Data

“Just three minutes set aside to be completely still each day will leave you feeling refreshed and less stressed.” StyleBistro – This Gadget Teaches You To Meditate By Reading Your Brain Waves

“[Josh Whiton, 35, an entrepreneur and angel investor’s] current go-to is a brain sensing-headset called Muse which he uses 4-5 times a week. It is designed to aid meditation, detecting electrical activity in the brain, which can then guide a user to a more effective practice.” The Guardian – Get ahead in Silicon Valley: Upgrade your mind with a brain buzzer

“…it makes sense that if you want to improve your focus, you would take time out of the day to train your mind as well. That’s exactly what Muse does.” Tech TimesMuse Takes Meditation Into The Digital Age

“…Ariel Garten, the co-founder of InteraXon, presented her company’s latest product, Muse, a lightweight electroencephalograph that wraps around your head and passively reads your brain’s electrical activity in order to help the user self-monitor while meditating, thereby improving mental fitness.” The New YorkerAn Evening With The Consciousness Hackers

“The Muse headband is a part of a new group of devices that merge relaxation with wearable technology to make you more aware of your overall being.” Mashable – Brain-Sensor Wearable Headbands De-Stress You in Minutes

Interested in learning more about Muse? Find out how it works or buy it now and try it for yourself.




What Happens When You Mix Minecraft, Muse & Neuroscience?

Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal at the University of Houston

Everyone knows that kids are crazy for Minecraft, the hugely popular sandbox game that lets them create virtual worlds from their imagination. Now, scientists are harnessing that obsession into invaluable neuroscience research using Muse, the brain sensing headband.

Dr. Jose Luis Contreras-Vidal is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Non-Invasive Brain Machine Interface Systems Laboratory at the University of Houston. He and his team are international leaders in the field of rehabilitation robotics, neuroprosthetics, wearable exoskeletons and brain-machine interfaces. (Allowing disabled people to control prosthetics or mobility enhancing exoskeletons with their own mind, for instance.)

Contreras-Vidal is leading a massive, multi-year study partnering with museums in Houston, Texas, in which children and adults are invited to participate in creative exhibits and activities while wearing mobile EEG headsets such as Muse headbands. The study will help map the brain and explore the neural basis of creativity by conducting EEG on over 1,000 individuals. As a wireless Bluetooth device, Muse allows for large-scale neuroscience experiments that, compared with typical lab studies, expand sample size and generalizability significantly.

“Muse is a highly portable system that allows quick set-up and recordings—EEG and head motion—which is essential for recording in public settings,” says Dr. Contreras-Vidal. “Little is known about the variability and individuality of brain activity as it occurs in public settings, and much less in children. We hope our studies will provide valuable data that will help advance our understanding of brain mechanisms and brain function.”

The first instance of the experiment took place on August 15th. Children and teens came to Children’s Museum Houston and played Minecraft while wearing Muse. “We suspect our work will provide insights on how children play the game, including differences in skill level and concentration or attentional levels.”

In addition to similar events at the Blaffer Art Museum, Contreras-Vidal and his team will also be taking high-density EEG readings from professional artists as they work. Identifying the neural patterns of the creative process would be an incredible neuroscience breakthrough.

“Muse lets us conduct research with a large number of diverse individuals in action and in context, without disturbing their experience at museums, outdoors and elsewhere,” explains Contreras-Vidal. “The applications are unbounded. Muse is clearly interested in exploring research applications with their devices, and has been very responsive in helping us deploy Muse in our work.”

Interested to find out how Muse could enhance your research program? The Muse Professionals Program gives scientists, doctors, clinics, counselors and coaches an innovative way to introduce meditation and affordable EEG measurement into their study and practice. Email to find out more.

Photo courtesy of the University of Houston.


How Can I Increase My Energy? Try These 5 Tips.

Struggling to get through the day? You’re not alone. A recent American Psychological Association report found that the majority of Americans are living with moderate to high levels of stress. Plus, many adults aren’t getting adequate sleep, eating right or practising meditation. These factors, combined with our ever-lengthening work days, all contribute to fatigue. Luckily, there are plenty of easy ways to put some pep into your step. Read more

Can Meditation Make Sex Better? Oh, Yes!

Meditation can make your sex life better.

Blissful news: You don’t have to shell out big money for fancy hotels, sexy La Perla lingerie or expensive sex toys to have a great sex life. Nor do you need to have a perfect body. It turns out that what’s happening in your mind can have a delightful impact on your pleasure centres. Here are five ways that meditation and focused-attention training can make you a better lover.

1. Tune in, turn on. Mindfulness meditation trains you to be more present. And a key component of having better sex is being able to tune into the moment, yourself and your partner, says psychologist Marsha Lucas, author of Rewire Your Brain for Love, on She adds that studies suggest those who meditate have a thicker anterior insula, a part of the brain that helps you perceive bodily experiences and some emotions. So meditating may help you experience more pleasure and express yourself physically.

2. Enjoy every sweet step. With meditation, you learn to let go and revel in the journey, rather than striving for an end goal. Applying the same approach to sex lets you reach intensely erotic or ecstatic states, writes Pamela Madsen for Psychology Today.

3. Focus on pleasure. When you’re making love, the last thing you want to think about is your to-do list, but these thoughts do pop up given our busy lives. Training your mind with meditation can help you push aside stressful thoughts and worries and focus on mutual bliss. Meditating with Muse, the brain-sensing headband, teaches you to tame wandering thoughts and calm your mind.

4. Feel your body. Studies by researcher Lori Brotto at the University of British Columbia found that mindfulness meditation helped women become more aware of their body’s sexual response, enjoy sex more and overcome sexual dysfunction.

5. Savour the sensations. Mindfulness and meditation encourage you to focus on your breath and your sensations, and this same focus can help you revel in sexual moments as well, according to the Kinsey Institute. And in the same way that you set aside time to meditate and unwind, scheduling time for truly connected, mindful sex can really take intimacy to the next level.

How Meditation Changed My Life

Andrew Parr, peak performance coach and former pro golfer uses Muse.

Andrew Parr is a golf coach who has played on every major professional golf tour in the world, from the PGA Tour to the European Tour to the Latin American Tour and beyond. In this blog post, Andrew shares how meditation has transformed his game, his relationships and his life.

I wish someone had told me when I was a kid that it was okay to feel upset, sad, anxious and fearful. When my father died when I was 12, the feelings of sadness, anger and abandonment that I experienced were so strong that I could hardly function.

I still remember my hockey coaches sitting me down and asking why I wasn’t playing well. “Are you kidding me?” I recall thinking. Why was it considered a bad thing to feel those emotions and let them affect me? Over time, I’ve seen the unhealthy side effects of a culture that encourages us to push our feelings aside. We have a tough day at work and we need to drink to get over it, or we get in a fight with our partner, or lose ourselves in overeating. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we got better at feeling?

There have been so many things that have surprised me about meditation, but perhaps the biggest is that it has allowed me to be with my emotions, while not letting emotions run my life.

I first encountered meditation when I was nine and my uncle encouraged me to feel the sensation of breath in my body. I began more formal, sitting meditation in 2005, but it wasn’t something I did every day. Still, as a competitive athlete and professional golfer, I spent many hours and days in a mindful state. I started meditating with Muse in January 2015, and it allowed me to see when my mind was becoming distracted, sooner. And now I’ve learned not to fight distracting emotion, but to feel it.

Until I had this breakthrough, I was always trying stay busy and ignore my feelings. Busy with work, relationships… Even practising yoga and playing golf in the past wasn’t truly meditative, because I was escaping my reality, trying not to feel, or using a positive outlook to cover up uncomfortable emotions.

Now I have a tool to know myself, and it’s called meditation. I typically meditate for 15 minutes as soon as I wake up and then take short meditation breaks throughout the day. I have meditated in pretty much every scenario, from a busy airport to the street to the woods. I’ll stop to meditate anytime I feel myself getting uncomfortable, and typically it’s in a very hectic area!

Having a better understanding of myself has changed my perspective and helped me become more empathetic. I respond instead of reacting, and am no longer uncomfortable with emotion. Having recently gone through a breakup, I’ve sat in sadness. And what I’ve discovered is that I can feel “bad” emotions such as anger or sadness deeply, be okay in that experience and actually be at peace. I don’t need anything to satisfy me. To me, that’s happiness.

I’ve also been reading a book called The Presence Process: A Healing Journey Into Present Moment Awareness by Michael Brown, a training manual to be with yourself. After travelling to over 35 countries for golf and always being on the move, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

In terms of advice to others, though, I don’t think you need to read books about meditation. Even if you’re just learning to meditate, all you really need to do is to sit down, feel the sensation of your breath and be aware of sensations and the thoughts rolling through your head. You don’t need to get rid of your thoughts or empty your mind, you just need to see that they’re there. Muse is really helpful, as well—whether you’re a beginner or an experienced meditator—because it lets you see and hear how effectively you’re meditating in each session. Plus, it teaches you to focus and trains you to be consistent about meditating more often.

Meditation helps us get better at feeling. So we know where we’re at and we’re okay with that. Then feelings don’t run our lives, and we have a surplus of energy that we can respond with. Imagine being in a place where you can handle anything and you thrive on learning from discomfort. Then you can truly connect with your partner, your kids, your coworkers and your friends.  I’ve had glimpse of this—through a moment-to-moment meditation practice—and I’m loving the curiosity and peace that it’s brought out in me.

Have the courage to dig deep.


5 Ways To Tame Anxiety With Meditation

Banish anxiety and achieve a Zen state with meditation

Money worries, a big presentation at work, hosting a social event—all of these things can trigger stress and anxiety symptoms such as uneasiness, heart palpitations, nausea or sleeplessness. While persistent symptoms may signal an anxiety disorder that requires medical treatment—always talk to your doctor—combatting day-to-day anxiety can be as simple as taking a time-out for meditation. In fact, a 2014 review of 47 clinical trials by John Hopkins University determined that mindfulness meditation offered relief from many anxiety and depression symptoms. No surprise, then, that high-profile CEOs and celebrities like Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey and Hugh Jackman use meditation to boost their calm. Here’s how to do the same when you feel anxiety rising.

1. Breathe deep. While you meditate, breathe in through your nose and let your chest and lower belly fill with air before exhaling through your mouth. As the Harvard Family Health Guide notes, breath-focused meditation helps calm your blood pressure and your heartbeat, and turns your mind away from stressful thoughts and worries.

2. Focus on the present. Anxiety often spikes when we start obsessing about things that happened in the past—which we can’t change—or might occur in the future. In contrast, meditation encourages us to zone in on the current moment. Over time, this can help us become more attentive to reality rather than our worries, says Tom Corboy, co-author of The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD. “Ultimately, meditation helps us slow down, get perspective, and think more objectively and with less knee-jerk reactivity,” Corboy recently told

3. Measure your calm. Focused-attention training teaches us to slow down our racing, anxious thoughts. Using Muse, the brain sensing headband, lets you determine when your mind is truly calm and you’re meditating effectively. Guidance, tracking and challenges within Muse help you achieve stillness more often, as well.

4. Observe your thoughts without judgement. Typically we react emotionally and physically to our thoughts, but meditation teaches us to “see” our thoughts in a quiet way and gain insight. “You don’t need to get rid of your thoughts or empty your mind, you just need to see that they’re there,” says Andrew Parr, a coach and former pro golfer who uses Muse to gain mental focus and improve his game.

5. Carve out some “me time”. The simple act of routinely setting aside time for yourself in a calm, quiet space can do wonders for your mental health. Although research suggests that 20-to-30 minute meditation sessions work best to alleviate anxiety, Muse users report that even three-minute daily sessions help them feel calmer and happier.

So, what are you waiting for? Give yourself the gift of calm and start meditating with Muse today. Plus, learn about other health benefits of meditation, as well as how to handle common meditation challenges.

Take Control Of Your Golf Game Once And For All

Andrew Parr meditates with Muse to boost his golf game

Focused attention training with Muse is a type of powerful meditation that many top athletes are using to perform their best. Given that golf is one of the most mentally taxing of all sports, it’s no surprise that Muse use is growing quickly in the golf world. Coaches and players like Paul Dewland and Andrew Parr use Muse to boost awareness and focus and achieve results for themselves and their amateur and professional players. (Watch Andrew’s videos here.) Still, you may wonder if Muse can help you. If so, ask yourself if any of these golf scenarios sound familiar:

  • You have trouble replicating your driving range success on the golf course
  • You want to have fun playing golf, but you often get frustrated with your performance
  • You spend a lot of money on golf lessons, but don’t seem to improve your scoring
  • You dwell on bad shots or holes, negatively affecting the rest of your game
  • You make poor decisions that cost you a lot of shots
  • You often start your golf game strong, but then lose focus and “blow it.”

If you can relate to any of these statements, Muse training can definitely help.

Brain-sensing technology makes Muse the first tool in the world that can give you accurate, real-time feedback on what’s happening in your brain during meditation and focused-attention training. Consider it your personal meditation assistant: helping to focus and calm your mind, enhance awareness and improve your concentration. While many wearable fitness technologies have emerged in recent years, Muse is considered the leader in meditation and focused-attention training. Muse also offers progress tracking, motivational challenges and rewards to take your mental game to new heights, all starting with short three-minute sessions.

But what does meditation have to do with golf, you ask? Well, meditation training with Muse helps you develop your focus and sensory clarity, so you can maximize your performance by overcoming negative self-talk and distractions on the course.

Distractions are everywhere in life. Within us, around us—distractions can be subtle, intense, or simply needle away at the back of your mind. On the golf course, distractions seem to multiply. Note the weather conditions: is it windy, rainy, sweltering, chilly? How’s the course playing? Dry and fast, or soft and slow? What about the people in your group? Are they incessantly chatty, unnecessarily angry, fidgety, slow to play? And what about that group that keeps hitting into you from behind – what’s their rush? These are all external influences you have to negotiate in your mind while you’re playing golf.

Distractions can throw off your golf game. Muse can help.

Then there’s your internal landscape. You’ve arrived at the course in a certain frame of mind: perhaps energized, anxious, fearful or unsettled. How will that affect your game today, especially when you can’t shake the memories of the last round or the water ball on the last hole? Can you recall that minor correction you thought you were going to remember in your set-up? And just what did your client mean earlier today when she said, “We should probably meet?”

See where we’re going with this? We haven’t even begun to address how you’re probably starting to project your thoughts ahead. “What if I lose this match, score poorly or put a couple in the water on the 7th again?” “And what will those guys say about me if I don’t break 80?”

There are disruptions everywhere that prevent us from playing like pros. We build up expectations. Emotions come into play and over thinking leads to underperforming. How we respond to distractions in the moment acts as a good measure of how focused we really are. When we aren’t focused, we let distractions consume our attention, and from there we go down into what we at Muse call The Spiral.

You may have another name for it. We call it The Spiral, referring to a swirl of negative thoughts that your mind can’t escape from. It’s when one bad thought leads to a succession of others. And as those negative thoughts breed, your bad shots lead to more of the same. The Spiral pulls you down and pulls your game down with it.

In golf, a swirl of negative thoughts can throw off your game.

As The Spiral gets deeper, it breeds strong emotions. A part of your brain called the amygdala, where fear and anger come together, activates your fight-or-flight response. This chemical response from our early evolutionary history—which sends a distress signal to the entire brain and body—was originally designed to help us get away from danger or fight off an attacker. Your heart rate increases in response, your blood pressure rises, you breathe more quickly, you feel jumpy and your muscles become twitchy. In this scenario, your ability to make calm, cool decisions or to execute a precise physical movement, such as a refined golf swing, evaporates.

The Spiral can be stopped, though, by a trained mind. It does this by separating your emotion from your response, allowing you to address the feelings and then re-establish your focus. The trained mind lets go of feelings about a missed shot and allows you to concentrate on the current moment, thereby avoiding The Spiral altogether. The more you train with Muse, the more you can apply these skills to the golf course.

Want to find out more about how Muse can boost your game? Watch these videos with Andrew Parr and sign up for our Golf program and ebook today.

7 Top Tricks To Beat Common Meditation Challenges


Whether you already know how to meditate and love how it calms your brain and lowers your stress levels, or are new to meditation and struggling to practice regularly, obstacles abound. A wandering mind, busy schedule or uncertainty about progress can make it hard to meditate for experienced and novice meditators alike. So, how do you make meditation easier? Consider these strategies to turn your meditation impediments into improvements.

Challenge 1: Sleepiness

The Fix: Try meditating at different times in the day to determine when you’re most alert. Standing up, stretching and even splashing some cool water on your face beforehand can help, too.

Challenge 2: Doubt

The Fix: Recall the real benefits. Meditation isn’t flaky – researchers have linked it to improved sleep, lower anxiety and blood pressure and other positive health outcomes. Start small with short sessions each day, experience the payoff first hand and then let go of your concerns. (Get inspired by reading how meditation has helped celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney, Lena Dunham and Oprah Winfrey, too.)

Challenge 3: Wandering thoughts

The Fix: Notice your thoughts and then bring your attention back to your sensations and surroundings. The brain sensing Muse headband can also help you stay focused. It’s the first tool in the world that can give you accurate, real-time feedback on what’s happening in your brain while you meditate.  As you meditate with Muse, you’ll hear peaceful weather sounds when you’re calm. When your mind wanders, you’ll hear the weather sounds getting stronger, gently guiding you back to calm. So Muse lets you hear your own mind as you meditate, helping you improve.

Challenge 4: Emotions

The Fix: Observe sadness, irritation or other feelings as sensations only and let them pass. It’s not uncommon for meditators to become distracted by emotions and dwell on them. Muse can help you identify when your brain becomes distracted, letting you quickly regain focus.

Challenge 5: Boredom

The Fix: Embrace the calm. Remind yourself that your restlessness may actually be resistance to the very tranquillity you need. You may want to try something new, too. Muse lets you switch between a virtual beach or rain forest environment when you meditate, and offers challenges to help you stay engaged.

Challenge 6: Feeling unmotivated

The Fix: Recall how refreshed you felt after your last meditation session. (And If you’re new to meditation, remember that it typically takes 21 days to build a new habit.) Let the motivational tracking and rewards in Muse encourage you to build a regular practice, too.

Challenge 7: No time

The Fix: Wake up three minutes earlier. Even a few minutes of meditation at the start of your day can boost your focus and happiness. (Get eight more tips on making time for meditation here, plus expert meditation tips.) Scheduling reminders with Muse can also help you fit meditation in.

Don’t have Muse yet? Buy it now and experience all the benefits of meditation with none of the uncertainty. Also, read on to find out how Muse works and what people have to say about it.




6 Stay-Calm, Back To School Survival Tips For Parents

It’s time to stop the back-to-school insanity. Whether you’re shovelling school supplies into your cart, buying an entire fall and winter wardrobe for multiple children or compulsively bookmarking online roundups of “adorable nut-free lunch ideas,” take a deep breath and step back. Sure, you can now count the days until the first day of school on your hands. And yes, you’re probably starting to dread the inevitable first-day jitters and nightly homework squabbles. But this year you can choose to start and end the school year on a calmer note by paring back and focusing on your family’s peace of mind. Here’s how.

  1. Put down the 48-pack of pencil sharpeners. While your kids’ school may have provided a list of required school supplies, many teachers outline requirements after school starts. Plus, if you’re like us, you may have lots of erasers, markers and supplies tucked in the back of your art baskets already. Hear from teachers first and get kids involved in reviewing what you already have before you hit the store.

  2. Focus on feelings. As parents we’re often so busy running through a mental shopping list—and savouring the last days of summer—that we forget to chat with our kids about first-day fears, being kind to students and teachers and managing the emotional ups and downs of school. Dr. Debra Pepler, a York University psychology professor and the scientific co-director of the bullying prevention research group PREVnet, offers some excellent tips for parents to prepare their kids for the mental and social challenges of the school year in this Canadian Living article.
  3. Start new routines. Rather than accepting parental stress as a given, why not carve out a few minutes a day to meditate? Research indicates that mindfulness meditation boosts our physical and mental health and may enhance family relationships, too.  Starting or boosting your meditation practice is easier with Muse. Other apps offer guided meditations, but Muse is the only guided meditation tool with brain-sensing technology to let you hear whether your mind is calm or active as you meditate. (Check out this video on how new mom, Liza, uses Muse.)

  4. Take a break from the mall. You may have to buy school uniforms or a first-day outfit beforehand, but you probably don’t need to clean out The Children’s Place. Why buy six pairs of cords only to discover all the kids are wearing Adidas track pants this year?

  5. Lose the lunch guilt. Hey, we survived eating bologna sandwiches for seven years in a row. Go ahead and offer a wide variety of healthy foods, but don’t stress if you’re not offering homemade charcuterie in cookie-cutter shapes.

  6. Choose calm. Make time for family meditation as well. A recent meta-review of the effect of meditation interventions in schools concluded that meditation boosted cognitive function, success and emotional regulation in students. (Note that Muse is for people 16 and up, but Sarah Rudell Beach offers some easy ways to teach your kids mindfulness meditation in this Huffington Post article.) Demonstrating the benefits of meditation to kids is a gift that keeps on giving, in the school year and beyond.

Want to find out more about meditation? Read about the latest meditation research, how to find time to meditate and what people are saying about Muse, your personal meditation assistant.