Mindfulness in Schools
By Cassandra Vega ('20)
Mindfulness is a word that most teenagers have heard of, however many seem to not completely understand what it is. Simply stated, it refers to the joining of both heart and mind as one becomes aware of what is happening, what one is doing and focusing on only the now.
There is evidence of mindfulness practices helping with anxiety, depression, stress, illness and pain- all conditions many teenagers struggle with. In addition to all the normal arguments regarding positive mental health for students, such as smaller amounts of homework, later starting times and healthier lunchtime options, mindfulness and meditation have made their way onto the stage as well.
In preschool and elementary school, students used to color in order to help understand how to stay in the lines, focus on the task at hand and explore creativity. Apps like Colorfy and Colorfit are popular amongst teens and adults to take time out of their day to focus on the moment. The growth sales of adult coloring books have also been seen during this revival of self-care.
Teachers like Mrs. Nancy Maurer from Crossroads South and Mrs. Csilla Mathe from SBHS have embraced mindfulness and meditation as forms of relaxation and focus for tasks ahead. These teachers have used meditation in the classroom to help the class destress before the lesson and connect with themselves in a fast paced environment.
Mrs. Mathe said she “think[s] that [meditation] helps them become more focused, relaxed and it gives them a quiet space when the rest of life is probably full of distractions.”
For students in her English class, February is the month of kindness. Self-kindness, kindness towards others and kindness towards strangers are the focus, with self respect and mindfulness being essential to achieving these goals.
Similarly, junior Colin Canavan said, “Meditation and mindfulness can work if people actually take it seriously, which goes for almost anything in life. If you take your time and put effort in, the results are going to come.”
However, finding a moment of peace can be difficult if it is not another assignment to complete, since so many students at SBHS have overwhelming schedules from AP classes to varying extracurriculars. Fortunately with apps like Calm and YouTube channels featuring calming music like Ambition and YellowBrickCinema people can find time to get in touch with themselves on their own time.
Experts say that meditation is a useful and necessary tool for our fast paced generation in order to stay in touch with who we are instead of losing ourselves in the suffocation of societal expectation and pressure to stay connected to the internet.