An alternative practice helps relieve students’ stress

Lana Fell, Ads & Business

Stress affects us all; it impairs attention, emotion, mood regulation, and sleep. Finding a way to cope with stress is crucial for well being.

 Although stress is key for survival, too much can be detrimental. Its lifelong impact can affect both mental and physical health.

According to the Teen Help website, for students school is so demanding it creates 78 percent of their stress.

Mindfulness, a mental state of paying attention in the present moment nonjudgmentally while having awareness, is a practice that has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and stress.

A study published in the Journal of Psychological Science, in September 2017  reported that mindfulness helps students with memory, reading comprehension, and benefits the brain as well as other aspects of health.

Here, mindfulness is practiced by several teachers, who feel it is something essential for their students.

Spanish teacher Aaron Wilkerson practices mindfulness in his classroom. He even gave it a catchy nickname, Mindfulness Miércoles, which translates to Wednesday Mindfulness.

“I found it can be a really useful tool even if it’s a couple of minutes at the start of class to get everyone on the same page. People come in from different situations and two or three minutes of just breathing together can allow us to let go and relax,” Wilkerson said.

 Mindfulness has many benefits; however some criticize the practice.

“It’s nice to relax at school once in awhile. However if some people are on their phones or talking you just can’t get in that mindset.” junior Brianna Cady said.

English teacher and mindfulness master Amity Hotchkiss, has dedicated her time to writing a book about this topic while teaching English here. She shows her students that mindfulness is not only a useful tool in school, but outside in all of the chaos.

“There are three things that plague people; time, environment, and emotion. You can see those who are really scattered. They are never in the present, and you can tell that there is so much going on inside of them. It just causes anxiety for people.” Hotchkiss said.

Junior Lena Kyle, a student who loves to meditate, say she understands why some people object to the practice.

“I understand that taking the time to meditate is a great thing, but there is a limited amount of time. If it cuts into class work that I’m supposed to be working on than that is a problem.”

Having an outlet like meditation is important, however under the time constraints, students should be able to access this practice without it affecting their school work.

Counselor Sheila Souder has witnessed the type of stress kids put themselves through daily. Souder, having worked here for nearly 21 years, has recently seen a dramatic spike in students’ stress.

“I’ve seen an enormous shift in the anxiety levels of students in the past five years, and it is only going up exponentially. There are so many unreasonable expectations.” Souder Said.

According to there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, remodeling of the physical structure of your brain occurs.

Setting aside time to focus your mind and reduce brain chatter are ways to destress and benefit your mind, body and foster peak performance in school and in life.