Six Social, Emotional & academic Life Skills


Through mindfulness and meditation we can glean insights that foster attention, balance, and compassion, what I call the ABCs. While not an entirely linear progression, it’s helpful to view these qualities as developing sequentially starting with attention, leading to emotional balance, and culminating with compassion. Their growth is modest but meaningful at first, and it becomes stronger over time. Steady, flexible attention develops our capacity to focus and quiet, and emotional balance enhances our capacity to see and reframe, while speaking, acting, and relating to others (and ourselves) with compassion develops our capacity to care and connect. By practicing these six social, emotional, and academic life skills — focusing, quieting, seeing, reframing, caring, and connecting — we become less reactive and more aware of what’s happening within and around us. Here’s how they work together: 


When we focus on an experience in the moment (the feeling of breathing or the sounds in a room), our minds tend to quiet, allowing us to see what’s going on more clearly. As we become more aware of what’s happening in our minds and bodies, we learn to use sense impressions (I’m feeling restless, for example, or I have butterflies in my stomach) as cues to stop and reflect before speaking or acting. When we see the web of relationships, causes, and conditions that lead up to each moment, caring and connecting can emerge naturally. Then, we have an opportunity to reframe how we view a situation and respond with more wisdom and compassion.


We shift our attention—from seeing, to feeling, to moving, and back to seeing again—to help us notice all of the different things we can be aware of in every moment.