Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? Silly question. I certainly have – for the past five minutes in fact, until from out of nowhere I remembered a film I watched a while ago called ‘Limitless’, ironically about a writer whose chronic blockages now threatened his livelihood. The desperate protagonist takes advantage of a new ‘smart drug’. Not only does he kick-start his creativity, but his previously stagnant life begins transforming in all sorts of entertaining ways. He’s literally living the high life, though there are of course consequences, as what goes up will always come down.
So what if there was a pill available that boosted our optimism, reinforced our self-perception, reduced our anxiety and depression? If that sounds similar to pills already available, there’s more! This new pill would also motivate your latest health regime, improve your social skills, and what’s most pertinent to this publication, improve a host of learning skills, such as faster information processing, greater focus, more effective working memory, more creativity and for good measure, enhanced cognitive flexibility (you’ll have to take the pill to figure out what the last one is). However, if you’re like me, you would have already consulted Dr. Internet and read up on the side-effects, deciding that it was indeed, too good to be true.
The cover story for our forthcoming issue (entitled ‘Young Yogis’) delves deep into the natural, side-effect free alternative, now known as ‘mindfulness’. While it is a buzzword, it’s far from new. Meditation, yoga, reflection, philosophical introspection and questioning, all are long standing practices of the Eastern spiritual traditions. Avanti Schools Trust have found some innovative ways to weave these into daily classroom culture, with amazing results, that I witnessed for myself.
These techniques are arriving into Avanti classrooms at a critical time, as current research shows that mental health problems, which are on the rise and far more widespread than we like to admit, must be tackled much earlier in life. But besides safeguarding against the negative possibilities, we want our Avanti graduates to leave us with confidence of character (our article on page 12 will introduce you to many such ‘characters’!) having already realised that their potential is naturally limitless. We want to equip them with all the skills that society today demands, including of course, the Avanti answer to writer’s block.
Wishing you a most mindful reading experience.