On Friday October 2nd, we had our second GEMinar at the Aga Khan Museum and I wouldn’t be wrong if I said it was the best so far!

All of the girls in the program are in high school and many are in their senior year aka stress year. In order for us to get through this tough time, we need to learn how to tackle stress and keep our minds healthy. The GEMinar we had showed us some great tips on how exactly to do that, thus getting its name- Beat the Busy Brain!

We had Dr. V. Wilson come in to teach us a few very important techniques to combat stress based on our own biofeedback. She has worked with many professional athletes and her job is to teach them how to recognize stress in their bodies and stay calm under intense pressure and stress. Personally, she had me all ears when I saw her hooking up Hajra to the lie detector and all of the other biofeedback equipment.

Using Hajra as an example, Dr. Wilson showed us what happens to our brain activity when we are stressed by asking Hajra a bunch of progressively harder math questions in front of the group…definitely a great way to make her feel stressed!

I learned a lot from this GEMinar:

  1. Many of us have short attention spans, particularly me.
  2. I’m breathing all wrong! We learned to calm ourselves by breathing into our bellies instead of our shoulders! What your body does can make you even more stressed!
  3. Focus – when in a boring lecture and our brains get really busy – focus on words by saying them or writing them down to better focus and “Beat the Busy Brain”

I genuinely feel that this GEMinar was helpful and something all our girls and staff needed at this point in the year!

Shanzah Zulfiqar is a grade 12 studen at Marc Garneau C.I., a GEMgirl and Creative Writing Intern at GEM.