How Precommitment Can Help Us Meet Our Goals

Meeting goals requires willpower, motivation, and commitment – but there is also a strategy called “precommitment” that can help. Read on to learn how.

If you have ever tried to lose weight, or put away a little money for a rainy day, you know how the story goes: You start with the best intentions, stoke your motivation, and tell yourself this time you will be successful, only to fall off the wagon a few days later. And you might ask yourself, what happened?

Meeting goals requires willpower, motivation, and commitment - but there is also a strategy called "precommitment" that can help. Read on to learn how.

The answer starts with the way we make decisions. According to Molly Crockett of the University of Cambridge, every decision we make requires a weighing of options. Some options may carry higher reward value than others, and some options require utilizing a little willpower, or employing what is known as a “precommitment.”

A precommitment is essentially an action we take to avoid facing temptations that may derail our goals. For example, we may avoiding purchasing unhealthy food to keep ourselves from eating it, or put money into savings accounts with hefty withdrawal fees to avoid the allure of using it to buy something we might not really need.

To test the effectiveness of precommitments, Crockett and her team recruited healthy male volunteers and gave them a series of choices: they had to decide between a tempting “small reward” available immediately, or a “large reward” available after a delay.

For some of the choices, the small reward was continuously available, and subjects had to exert willpower to resist choosing it until the large reward became available. But for other choices, subjects were given the opportunity to pre-commit: before the tempting option became available, they had the ability to prevent themselves from ever encountering the temptation.

So did using a precommitment strategy help subject resist the temptation of small rewards and hold out for larger ones?

Not just was a precommitment strategy more effective than using willpower alone, Crockett and her team also found that the most impulsive people (those with the weakest willpower) benefited the most from precommitment (Crockett et al., 2016).

“Our research suggests that the most effective way to beat temptations is to avoid facing them in the first place” (Crockett, 2016, para 3)

And precommitment also appears to employ a different area of our brains. Precommitment specifically activates the frontopolar cortex, a region that is involved in thinking about the future. Additionally, when the frontopolar cortex is engaged during precommitment, it increases its communication with a region that plays an important role in willpower, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Crockett et al., 2016).

Perhaps it’s not surprising that when we think about how we might respond to tempting options, we also think about the long term consequences of these options, and are better prepared to make better choices – perhaps by gaining a little leverage on ourselves.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Course:

Behavioral Strategies for Weight Loss is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that exposes the many thought errors that confound the problem of weight loss and demonstrates how when we use behavioral strategies – known as commitment devices – we change the game of weight loss. While obesity is arguably the largest health problem our nation faces today, it is not a problem that is exclusive to those who suffer weight gain. For therapists and counselors who work with those who wish to lose weight, there is ample information about diet and exercise; however, one very large problem remains. How do therapists get their clients to use this information? Packed with exercises therapists can use with their clients to increase self-control, resist impulses, improve decision making and harness accountability, this course will not just provide therapists with the tools they need to help their clients change the way they think about weight loss, but ultimately, the outcome they arrive at. Course #21-13 | 2016 | 31 pages | 15 posttest questions


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Preventing Medical Errors 2-Hour Online CE Course

Preventing Medical Errors & Improving Patient Safety is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that meets the medical error renewal requirement for Florida licensees.

Preventing Medical Errors & Improving Patient Safety is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that meets the medical error renewal requirement for Florida licensees.

The perennial bad news about medical errors is that they continue to occur at relatively high levels. Retrospective studies have shown that 3–17% of patients in acute care hospitals experience one or more adverse events caused by hospital care, resulting in at least in a prolonged hospital stay. 400,000 people are affected by medical errors every year. But there is good news: a high proportion of errors are preventable.

Preventing Medical Errors addresses the impact of medical errors on today’s healthcare with a focus on root cause analysis, error reduction and prevention, and patient safety. It satisfies the requirements of the Florida State Legislature mandating a two-hour course relating to the prevention of medical errors as part of the licensure and renewal process for health professionals. Included are descriptions and examples of medical errors in various healthcare professions.

The course highlights the importance of critical thinking in assessment and planning and discusses health literacy, cultural competence, links between ethics and medical errors, the centrality of evidence-based practice, distinguishing science from pseudoscience, and improving communication skills. Also includes printable handouts with tips and strategies for error prevention, a glossary, and online resources. Course #21-47 | 2021 | 39 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Preventing Medical Errors provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Florida OTs – 25% Off Online CEUs for License Renewal

Florida OTs have an upcoming license renewal that has been extended due to COVID-19. The normal deadline of February 28, 2021 has been extended until March 31, 2021.

CE Required: 26 hours every 2 years, of which:
2 hours Preventing Medical Errors is required each renewal
2 hours Florida Occupational Therapy Laws & Rules is required each renewal
1 hour HIV/AIDS is required for the first renewal only 
Online CE Allowed: 12 hours (14 hours must be live or interactive, real-time courses)
License Expiration: 2/28, odd years Extended to March 31, 2021 due to COVID-19

Still need CE? Florida OTs can earn up to 12 hours for renewal through online courses @ PDR. Order now and Save 25% on all online courses and earn credit in the comfort (and safety) of your own home. We report to CE Broker for you!

Florida OTs can earn up to 12 hours for renewal through online courses @ PDR. Order now and Save 25% on all online courses and earn credit in the comfort (and safety) of your own home. We report to CE Broker for you!

Professional Development Resources is an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) approved provider of continuing education (#3159). The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Arizona Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners; the Florida Board of Occupational Therapy Practice; the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635) (all courses are reported within two business days).

Click here to view AOTA-approved online CEUs for Florida OTs.

Topics include:


Professional Development Resources is approved by the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA Provider #AAUM) to provide continuing education activities in speech-language pathology and audiology. See course page for number of ASHA CEUs, instructional level, and content area. ASHA CE provider approval does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products, or clinical procedures. CEUs are awarded by the ASHA CE Registry upon receipt of the CEU Participant Form from the ASHA Approved CE Provider (we report to ASHA monthly). Professional Development Resources is also approved by the Florida Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (Provider #50-1635) and the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635) (all courses are reported within two business days).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

ABA for Autism – New Online CE Course

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for Autism is a new 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides evidence-based behavioral interventions for the minimally verbal child with autism.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for Autism is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides evidence-based behavioral interventions for the minimally verbal child with autism.

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is holding steady at one in 54 children. The communication challenges of these children are widely known and require specialized early interventions to overcome them. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is often described as the “gold standard” for autism treatment. 

This course presents evidence-based strategies that can enable students with ASD and others who are verbally limited to become more effective communicators. The focus will be on the minimally verbal child, the child who has a small repertoire of spoken words or fixed phrases that are used communicatively. Included will be an overview of ASD, an introduction to the science of ABA for autism, the use of manding in communication training, techniques for direct instruction programming, and inter-professional collaboration strategies. Major points are illustrated throughout by case studies from actual practice. Course #21-43 | 2020 | 46 pages | 15 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

ABA for Autism provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Building Resilience in Children – New Online CE Course

Building Resilience in Children is a new 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that offers a variety of resilience interventions to help children flourish.

Building Resilience in Children is a new 3-hour online CE course that offers a variety of resilience interventions to help children flourish.

Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure to succeed in school, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home.

This course provides a working definition of resilience and descriptions of the characteristics that may be associated with better outcomes for children who confront adversity in their lives. It also identifies particular groups of children – most notably those with developmental challenges and learning disabilities – who are most likely to benefit from building resilience training. The bulk of the course – presented in two sections – offers a wide variety of building resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings. Course #31-26 | 2020 | 62 pages | 20 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Building Resilience in Children provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Anxiety in Children – New Online CE Course

Anxiety in Children is a new 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that focuses on behavioral interventions for children with anxiety disorders.

Anxiety in Children is a new 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that focuses on behavioral interventions for children with anxiety disorders.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children but are often not diagnosed. Untreated anxiety can lead to substance abuse, difficulties in school, and depression. Professionals who work with children, including speech-language pathologists, mental health professionals, and occupational therapists, frequently encounter anxiety disorders among their young clients.

This course is intended to help clinicians recognize and understand the anxiety disorders that frequently occur in children and learn a wide variety of communication and behavioral strategies for helping their clients manage their anxiety. Included are sections on types and causes of anxiety disorders, strategies for prevention, evidence-based treatments, techniques for helping children manage worry, relaxation techniques for use with children, and detailed discussions on school anxiety and social anxiety. Course #40-51 | 2020 | 73 pages | 25 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

Anxiety in Children provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Why You Should Stop Putting on a Happy Face

At some point, we have probably all shoved down a negative feeling and put on a happy face, even when we didn’t feel like it. What we probably didn’t consider is the psychological cost of masking how we really feel.

At some point, we have probably all shoved down a negative feeling and put on a happy face, even when we didn’t feel like it. What we probably didn’t consider is the psychological cost of masking how we really feel.

Conducting two separate studies, and using parental negative emotion suppression and positive emotion amplification as a barometer, Dr. Bonnie Le and Dr. Emily Impett of the University of Toronto Mississauga and their colleagues looked to find out.

In the first experiment, 162 parents were asked to recall past caregiving experiences before answering a series of questions.

“By examining the regulation of positive and negative emotions in tandem, our results can shed light on the unique effects of using each strategy,” explains Le (Le, 2018).

According to Impett, when parents attempted to hide their negative emotion expression and overexpress their positive emotions (put on a happy face) with their children, it came at a cost: the parents felt worse themselves (Le et al., 2018).

Moreover, the parents reported experiencing lower authenticity, emotional well-being, relationship quality, and responsiveness to their children’s needs when they suppressed negative emotions and amplified positive emotions when providing care to their children.

In the second study, the researchers asked 118 parents to answer open-ended questions regarding their daily caregiving experiences over the course of ten days.

Again, the results were similar: more challenging caregiving led to more suppression of negative feelings and amplification of positive feelings (Le et al., 2018).

Le summarizes the results, “Parents experienced costs when regulating their emotions in these ways because they felt less authentic, or true to themselves. It is important to note that amplifying positive emotions was relatively more costly to engage in, indicating that controlling emotions in ways that may seem beneficial in the context of caring for children can come at a cost” (Le, 2018).

For Impett and her team, the findings offer one clear takeaway: when parents express more positive emotions than they genuinely feel and mask their negative emotions, they feel worse. We will all have negative feelings at some time or another and the point is not to deny them, but rather find ways to accept them as normal – or even better, use them to propel psychological growth.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Leveraging Adversity: Turning Setbacks into Springboards is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that gives clinicians the tools they need to help their clients face adversity from a growth perspective and learn how to use setbacks to spring forward, and ignite growth.

Building Resilience in your Young Client is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.

Finding Happiness: Positive Interventions in Therapy is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that explores the concept of happiness, from common myths to the overriding factors that directly increase our feelings of contentment.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Executive Functioning in Children CE Course

Executive Functioning: Teaching Children Organizational Skills is a new 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides strategies and tools for helping children succeed through overcoming executive functioning deficits.

Executive Functioning: Teaching Children Organizational Skills is a new 4-hour online CE course that provides strategies and tools for helping children succeed through overcoming executive functioning deficits.

Executive functioning skills represent a key set of mental assets that help connect past experience with present action. They are fundamental to performing activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space.

Conversely, executive functioning deficits can significantly disrupt an individual’s ability to perform even simple tasks effectively. Although children with executive functioning difficulties may be at a disadvantage at home and at school, adults can employ many different strategies to help them succeed.

This course will enumerate and illustrate multiple strategies and tools for helping children overcome executive functioning deficits and improve their self-esteem and organizational abilities. Included are techniques for planning and prioritizing, managing emotions, improving communication, developing stress tolerance, building time management skills, increasing sustained attention, and boosting working memory. Course #40-50 | 2020 | 70 pages | 25 posttest questions

Click here to learn more.

This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation.


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

Mindfulness, Yoga, and Good Mental Health

It may be the last thing you want to do when you are having trouble focusing, are upset by negative news, or distracted by an inconsiderate co-worker, but a few minutes of mindfulness, yoga, or meditation may be just what you need to maintain good mental health.

A few minutes of mindfulness, yoga, or meditation may be just what you need to maintain good mental health amid stressful times.

“Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing and posing, and also reduce processing of nonessential information,” explains Peter Hall, associate professor in the School of Public Health & Health Systems. “These two functions might have some positive carryover effect in the near- term following the session, such that people are able to focus more easily on what they choose to attend to in everyday life.”

After following thirty-one study participants who completed 25 minutes of Hatha yoga, 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation, and 25 minutes of quiet reading (a control task) in randomized order, Hall found that after both the yoga and meditation activities, participants performed significantly better on executive function tasks compared to the reading task. Specifically, goal-directed behavior, and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions improved.

Moreover, Hall and his team also found that mindfulness meditation and Hatha yoga were both effective for improving energy levels, with Hatha yoga having significantly more powerful effects than meditation alone.

“There are a number of theories about why physical exercises like yoga improve energy levels and cognitive test performance. These include the release of endorphins, increased blood flow to the brain, and reduced focus on ruminative thoughts,” notes said Kimberley Luu, lead author on the paper.

There may be something particularly powerful about combining physical postures and breathing exercises with mindfulness meditation. The ability to observe thoughts, emotions and body sensations with openness and acceptance, seems to be a key component of improved executive functioning, while improvements in flexibility and strength come with a host of overall health benefits. Whether in helping us focus, appreciate what we have, or simply feel better physically, yoga, meditation, and the ability to shift our energy are fundamental to good mental health.

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Mindfulness: The Healing Power of Compassionate Presence is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that will give you the mindfulness skills necessary to work directly, effectively and courageously, with your own and your client’s life struggles. Course #60-75 | 2008 | 73 pages | 27 posttest questions


Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB Provider #1046, ACE Program); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA Provider #3159); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR Provider #PR001); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635), Dietetics & Nutrition (#50-1635), and Occupational Therapy Practice (#34); the Georgia State Board of Occupational Therapy; the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board (#RCST100501); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within a few days of completion).

Enjoy 20% off all online continuing education (CE/CEU) courses @pdresources.orgClick here for details.

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be!

The Importance of Returning to School

There is much debate and concern over how to start the 2020-2021 school year and every Board of Education across the country have the unenviable task of deciding how to proceed – bricks and mortar, online, or a hybrid of the two.

With all the debate about how to get our children back to school, it's important that we put politics aside and focus on what is best for the kids.

I thought our county and school system did a tremendous job educating our children last term. They went above and beyond the call of duty in learning how to use online teaching platforms and adjusting their objectives and lesson plans to work while teaching their students in a distance learning capacity. The reality is, however, online school or a hybrid of online and physical attendance will never, in my opinion, equal the education children receive by attending school five days a week and interacting with the class teacher, their peers, and other faculty or volunteers.

The first few weeks of a new school year are important. This is the time children and teachers learn about each other. But what does this look like if children are working from home in a variety of environments? As teachers, we will not know the routines and expectations of every household. We cannot accommodate for every circumstance. If parents are able to go to their place of business, where are the children? Do we then expect babysitters, day cares, or family members to support the child’s learning? How do we as classroom teachers, meet the needs of all students trying to learn in such a wide range of environments and with differing schedules?

As class teachers we establish routines so that children know what to expect every day. In establishing boundaries, classroom rules, and expectations, we ensure the children feel a sense of security. Students know and rely on our set timetable, anticipate what will happen as they progress through the school day, and feel safe in the knowledge that these expectations apply to everyone in the classroom, which allows them to focus on their school work.

Classroom teachers spend a great deal of time and money creating enabling environments for their students. We stock our classrooms so that children have all the resources they will need to complete assignments and have fun! From the playdough, paint, and building materials in the early years to the science experiments and games in middle and high school. Teachers not only offer the use of technology in the classroom, we are required to use technology in lessons. Thus, we have computers, iPads and internet availability. We constantly look for ways to engage the students with their learning and pique their interest so that they will want to become life-long learners.

Teachers carefully consider the layout of the classroom and the accessibility of materials. We model methods of organizing and caring for resources and teach students how to establish good practices when carrying out and turning in assignments. Children learn executive functioning skills that will help them throughout their school career and into adulthood.

One of the joys of the first term is getting to know our students. Finding out about their personalities, interests, and goals, and making a connection. We build a mutually trusting and respectful relationship with our students through shared experiences in the classroom. Furthermore, school is as much about social and emotional education as it is about academics. For how can children succeed if they do not know how to actively listen, concentrate, confidently and respectfully share their ideas and value the ideas of others, cooperate with peers, persevere when learning is difficult, or organize their space and work.

Teachers want their classroom to be a safe place in which children can work hard, try new things, and know it is ok to fail occasionally. By supporting students to bounce back from failure and try again, teachers help them to build resilience and persevere. We look for those “extra few minutes” to provide extra practice and reassurance. We reflect on the days’ lessons so that we can determine when and how best to support a struggling student. We also consider how to extend learning and challenge those students who need stretching, who mastered a skill or concept easily.

As teachers, we value our colleagues and the time spent sharing ideas and reflecting on our practice. We need our meetings with other professionals, such as speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, counselors, and social workers, so that we are providing the best opportunities for children to succeed, especially those children who have individual learning needs. Often, it is not enough to follow a strategy one or two times. As classroom teachers following the advice of other supporting professionals, we plan activities specifically to meet learning goals several times a week. The parents are also given strategies to do at home. This layering and repetition is what enables the child to master a concept and succeed. How do we ensure this all happens when children are not in the classroom, colleagues are unable to confer and support families, and parents, who already overwhelmed with work, are taking on a teacher’s responsibilities?

Teachers also support families. That “quick chat” at the beginning or end of the day can reassure and support parents and carers as they work with their children. The scheduled meeting with a teacher so that a parent or carer can share difficulties a child may be experiencing at home (such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or illness). The note sent in letting school know of a child’s accomplishment outside of school so that it can be recognized and celebrated by their peers. These open lines of communication allow teachers to foster positive relationships with students as well as their families, so that we can all support students to achieve.

So much goes into a child’s learning, much of it taking place behind the scenes. With the best will in the world, we cannot expect the same rigour or comprehensive education from a part time, online schedule as we provide to children attending school full time.

For more information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website’s article “The Importance of Reopening America’s Schools this Fall” (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/reopening-schools.html) or the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website’s article “ Pediatricians, educators, and Superintendents Urge a Safe Return to School This Fall” (https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2020/pediatricians-educators-and-superintendents-urge-a-safe-return-to-school-this-fall/)