Mindfulness at PASE
October 6, 2021
Students share information on how to stay grounded and keep your stress level down
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Mindfulness in High School
Fill your mind with mindfulness
We believe that students should learn about meditation and mindfulness in high school as a means of increasing overall happiness. Many times the people who appear the happiest from outside may not be happy internally and could be just pretending to hide their pain. This article about mindfulness and meditation is meant to promote internal happiness. If you can achieve internal happiness, you can be confident enough to say “I lived a good life”. Rather than starting later, beginning mindfulness and meditation as soon as possible, woven into the curriculum, will make it easier to pass through the bumpy road of life.
Can you believe that “general wellness is the number one reason people give for meditating?” (see the image below). General wellness could translate to happiness as well because if all is well within you, then you are balanced and happy. To begin with, mindfulness and meditation help people lower stress levels in school and in life. By allowing students to hone the skills to stay in the moment, schools can prepare students for life. Meditation gets rid of stress, negative thoughts, and all types of negative energy that surrounds us. “Usually our minds are full of thoughts. We are constantly planning, reflecting, wondering, or worrying about the future. Imagine what we could achieve if we could give our minds a break from these patterns.” Thus, after meditation, students will be able to get back to work with a fresh and calm mind. A Havard Research story by Grace Tatter revealed that “sixth-graders who participated in an eight-week mindfulness were less stressed out than their classmates who hadn’t.” If meditation can help students as young as 6th graders, it should probably be effective on high school students as well. As students will clear their minds from negative thoughts, they will have improved self-esteem because now without the stress, they can handle situations that first they thought were overwhelming. Moreover, students will be able to avoid depression and negative behaviors from mindfulness because it teaches us to let go of negative emotions thereby keeping ourselves positive. The Harvard story also reported that after a week of mindfulness and meditation, students experienced greater self-control, which means that students won’t become frustrated and would not completely give up when stressed. This positive attitude will lead to skills such as resilience and gratitude which correlate with a persons happiness.
Mindfulness and meditation help us take care of ourselves since we only get one shot at life, it is important that we give our physical and mental health some break. This means that students can be trained to take on the academic pressure of our Science Academy. In addition, mindfulness practices help to spark creativity and new ideas because it allows us to reach the state of creativity where we are relaxed and inspired. Roberto and Sharlynn here feel better when they practice mindfulness before their soccer and tennis games. Parth here uses mindfulness to prepare him mentally for any test or big exams.
Studies have shown that “8 in 10 Americans experience stress in their daily lives and have a hard time relaxing their bodies and calming their minds, which puts them at high risk of heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses”. Some people don’t really pay attention to their own health issues due to stress such as financial payments that keep their mind out of perhaps this life-saving technique. Implementing mindfulness and meditation can eventually benefit your own health as it promotes self-care and productivity on top of calming your mind. It eventually comes up in great use when trying to focus or resolve a conflict. Taylor Rush, Ph.D. shared that “Since beginning my mindfulness practice 10 years ago… I observe my physical, emotional, and cognitive reactions (they have not miraculously disappeared), but they no longer short-circuit my brain. I am able to opt for a more adaptive response to the situation.” When trying to solve a conflict, you have to be aware of how you’ll react and enhance your future response. Indicating that it may take you a certain amount of time to say something than to react without thinking clearly, which concentrating on your behavior and wording can eventually project into a more respectful manner.
Not only do mindfulness and meditation practices help emotional wellness, but they also help achieve social wellness. Meditation and mindfulness allow us to approach the present with curiosity and openness. When we meditate, we can feel what is going on around us which makes us more open and accepting in our relationships. “In each moment lies hundreds of lessons waiting to be learned, and mindfulness brings us closer to unearthing them.” Furthermore, meditation makes you feel more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The experience of spirituality can be felt with the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness and meditation take us away from the existence of the body and focus on the mind and soul. This practice can help us as individuals to find a sense of peace and purpose.
With all the reasons mentioned in this article, it is critical that we make space for mindfulness and meditation in our life as a way of increasing happiness in high school and life.
“5 Facts about Mindfulness for Better Mental Health.” Resources To Recover, 10 Apr. 2018, www.rtor.org/2018/04/05/5-facts-about-mindfulness/.
“24 Meditation STATISTICS: Data and TRENDS Revealed for 2021.” The Good Body, 28 May 2021, www.thegoodbody.com/meditation-statistics/.
Lazaridou, Asimina, and Panagiotis Pentaris. Mindfulness and Spirituality: Therapeutic Perspectives . Harvard Medical School, https://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/15810/1/15810_Pentaris_Mindfulness%20and%20spirituality%20(AAM)%202016.pdf.
Tatter, Grace. “Making Time for Mindfulness.” Harvard Graduate School of Education, 23 Jan. 2019, www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/19/01/making-time-mindfulness.
Why Students Should Learn About Mindfulness and Meditation as a Means of Increasing Happiness in High School
Why should we show gratitude? Is probably what you are asking yourself as you read the title. “That sounds boring!” would be your second thought and “How do you know what I’m thinking?” would be the third. But gratitude is a lot more important than most people think. We can live our entire lives without knowing how lucky we were. We could complain endlessly, without knowing how fortunate we are in the end. It is imperative that people recognize their fortunes in life. Doing so will allow people to have a more positive attitude towards life and towards the ones they love and would make them appreciate the things they have. Showing gratitude makes people more humble and overall happier towards life. But sometimes, knowing such luck can be a difficult thing to immediately think of. This is why we are proposing to all students: write gratitude letters and keep a collection of everything you are grateful for.
Expressing gratitude is to give recognition and be thankful to people that surround you in a positive way. It gives you a reflection of your relation with that person, gratitude could possibly bring positive things out into the light instead of putting the negative in bold. It gives you a change in perspective and to acknowledge that you have people that stand behind you to support you.
The Gratitude Letter
There are multiple ways to express gratitude and our favorites involve writing letters to the people or things you appreciate. By writing these letters, you will accumulate many things you find grateful about the subject of the letter, be it your mom or your favorite game. By writing these down, you will tend to be more grateful overall to the subject. If it was a person, you may appreciate them a lot more and would realize all they’ve done for you. If it’s an object, you may appreciate owning the object more. By realizing these things, your mental health would improve and your gratitude towards small things would increase.
The Gratitude Collection…
Another form to express gratitude is by keeping a box or a journal filled with items and people who you are grateful for. This helps when you are feeling stressed or feel like no one understands you. A gratitude collection will remind you of the positives in your life and you are in charge of whatever you decide to put in it. A gratitude journal filled with pictures is also an excellent way to remind yourself of people who or things that make you happy and make you feel comfortable. We all have someone or something close to our hearts and thoughts and something that helped me was a gratitude collection. We all have something to be grateful for, even if it’s small. Being able to recognize them it’s a fundamental part towards being happy. So the next time you receive a gift you’ve always wanted, or your parents simply took you out to eat, remember that these seemingly insignificant moments may be significant to those less fortunate. Stay grateful!
Mindfulness Over Madness
Ask any student what their schedule looks like between September to June. They’ll give you a whole list of things they are doing, from school, to sports, extra curriculars, social lives, and family responsibilities. While this sounds impressive to an outside ear, the reality is that the packed schedule of teenagers is taking a major toll on their mental health. In order to mitigate the effects of stress in teens, school teachers and staff should implement time for mindfulness, meditation, and learning about how to become more happy amidst the several obstacles faced on a daily basis. Here are three reasons why mindfulness should be kept in mind.
Enhancing academic performance.
Standardized testing has become a major part of the school system in the United States in the recent decades. In the past, school districts all over the nation strive to have the best scores and numbers in order to prepare their students to pass these exams to better their statistics without taking the students into consideration. According to a study published in the Journal of Adult Education titled Mindfulness and Student Success, “Mindfulness education appears to have a positive impact on academic performance by helping students – even those with learning disabilities – focus, be more organized, plan ahead, perform better on exams, and think critically”. Caring for students’ mental health may seem to take away from precious test prep time when in reality, implementing mindfulness into the curriculums will promote students to work at their full potential and achieve the best scores and grades they can. This allows students to reap benefits academically, socially, and emotionally and will also benefit the schools performance as a whole.
A healthy mind keeps a healthy body.
Schools have always implemented the idea of healthy bodies from Michelle Obama’s “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” to the “FitnessGram PACER test” done in gym classes. Despite their efforts, they have yet to acknowledge the equal importance of mental health, and how bad students are mentally affected. These problems aren’t solved by forcing students to eat or to exercise, and the physical changes they go through aren’t small. According to the CDC, “[D]epression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke”. While these may seem like drastic changes and you think they cannot happen to a teenager, it does. The mind doesn’t actually multitask, your brain is just able to switch from task to task as fast as it can. The overstimulation of these students when doing different activities throughout the day, is hard on their body and mind. They’re so focused on what they have to do next that they’ll forget to do simple necessities like eating breakfast, showering, and using the bathroom. In order to make sure that students are willing to eat, and are motivated to be active in and out of school, it all starts with making sure their mental health can handle it. Some schools are even applying yoga classes in their curriculum, with the idea that students can be calm during this time, slowing down their heart rate and helping blood flow through themselves better. Small breaks for mindfulness gives them the time they need to re energize, or just be at peace with themselves, these breaks should be put in effect for the betterment of students.
Builds a safer and healthier school community
When students and faculty are consumed by their stress and busy schedules, everyone feels very isolated. It is hard to connect with one another when there is clear tension. Relieving this tension amongst students will allow them to feel more comfortable in a school environment. This comfort will translate into a healthier and happier school community. A research story from Harvard, Making time for Mindfulness, discusses a new study about mindfulness in education that suggests “lessons on techniques to calm the mind and body — can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.” Calming the mind and body plays a major role in communication and relationships especially in a school setting. Offering this outlet will allow students to work much better with each other as well as their teachers because they are not consumed with everything they have going on in their lives.
The Positive Aspects of Mindfulness
Students should learn about mindfulness and meditation as a form to increase happiness in high school. High School students often deal with stress and don’t know how to deal with it. Facilitating space for meditation is an excellent vehicle and ought to be included in every high school curriculum. Meditation is versatile and can be done in many different ways and is not limited in its use. Even those who don’t go to school, every single human can benefit from meditation. These benefits can include a reduction of anxiety, helping to deal with an addiction, reducing depression and stress, feeling more relaxed and calm. By practicing meditation, you are helping your brain and body to relax, your mind is at peace, and you become more aware of the things that go on in your life.
Mindfulness and its correlation to health
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can lead high school students to conduct more healthier lives causing greater happiness. High school students tend to become very stressed because of school and personal problems. Various causes of stress on teens are different for a variety of students but getting good grades, the people in school, social life, getting ready for colleges or thinking about the future are definitely among the top stressors. Stress can cause frustration, mood swings, feeling overwhelmed, and agitated behavior. All of these symptoms will effect the high school experience and performance.
When practicing mindfulness or meditation students can have a moment of stress relief as well as feeling more relaxed, creative, open to learning, better learning, and better sleep. All of these things affect our health and the way we perform in school.
Want to know how you can practice Mindfulness?
- Keeping a journal
- Listening to music that calms
- Showing gratitude to ones self and others
- Start your day with a purpose
- Mindful workout
The Effects of Practicing Meditation
A research made by Gaelle Desbordes in 2012 shows how those who learn and practice meditation can still benefit from it even while they are not doing it at the moment, she does this by comparing scans of the brain taken when the person was watching images with emotional content from before and after learning/practicing meditation.
The results showed that the before scan had activation in the amygdala which is an immediate response to an overwhelming emotion while the scan made after learning and using meditation was less affected. Through this research, it was clear that mediation does not only help you when doing it but it also helps you long term for as, long as you keep practice it.
Practicing Gratitude Mindfulness Results In Happiness
Gratitude mindfulness helps students increase awareness of their position and results in a more positive self-image which leads to happiness. High school students often tend to compare themselves with other classmates as it seems that they lead a perfect life: traveling, having fun and perfect grades. High schoolers often feel as if there was a person that always achieves better than them in every field resulting in a bad self-impression.
Students don’t tend to validate themselves and do not appreciate the little things surrounding them. However, this can be changed if they are introduced to gratitude mindfulness. From the research article conducted by Joel Wong and Joshua Brown they emphasized that “it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.”, Many assume that the only way for someone to be mentally stable is by attending counseling however Mr. Wong and Mr. Brown debunks that statement, as it has been proven that gratitude mindfulness has a greater impact than counseling can achieve.
As humans we always place so much energy into things we want to get and achieve that we don’t take into consideration the small or big things others do for us, Gratitude helps us reverse our priorities to help us become more aware of the people that care for us and to appreciate what we have and what we do. In other words, it makes us feel better about ourselves and improves our self-image as we come to appreciate ourselves and value everything we do and have and we come to “accept all the blessings we receive” and helps us pursue the things that make us happy. As early as possible students in every corner of the world can benefit from the practice of mindfulness.
Learning the Importance of Mindfulness and Mediations
All students in school ought to have the opportunity to learn coping skills and methods to increase happiness such as meditation, mindfulness, gratitude journals and any other tool to increase self monitoring and health. To begin with, high school students and other elementary school students often get stressed, aggravated or a little bit confused over the amount of projects and assignments they are assigned each day. Sometimes it can even affect our mental health. Thus, it’s very important that students understand mindfulness and mediation because mindfulness practice can help out the students throughout their years. Students will often get stressed on the amount of homework they’re getting, if there in any extracurricular activities it can cause them to be stressed, which is very alarming that the administrator should be concerned about their mental health, teachers and administrators should teach their students about stress and should try doing some mindfulness exercise and mediation for them to help with their mental health but also to increase and expand their ability to focus and be joyful.
Being mindful means to be aware without worry and stress. At a young age kids can undergo situations and problems of constantly having to think of multiple issues that have occurred in the past even putting themselves into future situations. When it comes to a learning environment like a school students and teachers undergo through many related issues when it comes to constantly having to deal with their emotions of overworking . Learning more about mindfulness and meditation in school can help promote happiness and release stress to the students and teachers. Giving students and even teachers time to learn about mindfulness and happiness will help in the long run such as excelling in school or even build a greater relationship with others. In “How to Introduce Meditation to the high school classroom” by Suzzane Caines it states” At the very least, it is a positive way to get students ready to start class. At best, it is a game-changing practice that has the power to assuage student anxiety, improve focus and awareness, and cultivate emotional regulation and empathy.” meaning this can change many people if given a chance in a learning environment. When students distress they can have this influence towards people into also being optimistic. When helping themselves they can help others with related problems. Being mindful helps facilitate space for the student into being in the moment instead of worrying about the past. Also help with having self control that will build into having a positive mindset when being in places like school and home. Students undergo many projects and chores that don’t make time for themselves which can create problems like anxiety , depression and more. Adults also have this influence towards the younger generation by trying to push them harder such as teachers. The generation of younger students seek greater challenges which are unaware of problems that are going to affect their studies and mindset. By meditation and just having time to learn to keep the emotions in check and view their thoughts in a positive attitude.
Mindfulness is important for people because it increases focus, attention, self control, and compassion. Meditation can give people a sense of calm and peace that can benefit both your emotional well being and your overall health. Learning about meditation and mindfulness can change the way people feel, especially to students. Doing any exercise such as deep breathing, yoga meditation and relaxation exercises can help you empty out the mind and think of positive things. These exercises can be a huge help to students or anybody that is going through a lot at