Students Find New Way to Relax

Esha Jain, Assistant Editor

There has been a clear change in school environment over the past few years. Students are more stressed, anxious, and have been taking on increasingly demanding course loads. Ms. Bauer, the Gifted and Talented advisor for both Morris Hills High School and Morris Knolls High School has introduced a new method to students to combat this change.

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose and being in the present moment without judgment. When noticing this change in student behavior, Ms. Bauer observed that while students acknowledged their stress, they had no tools for how they could combat it in their daily life. Ms. Bauer stumbled upon Mindfulschools.org and has taken two courses, and hopes to take more in the future. In order to teach mindfulness, Ms. Bauer acknowledges that one must have a strong foundation of your own. Personally, Ms. Bauer has practiced meditation but found that mindfulness could be brought into a secular setting in a public school. As an educator, mindfulness has helped Ms. Bauer, mentioning that “educators are very empathetic, and it can be very easy to let the anxiety of students who you are care about spill over into your life. It’s a danger of being a sympathetic person, and mindfulness practice keeps me from confusing student’s anxiety and stress with my own.” For students, mindfulness can help anchor oneself. The prefrontal cortex is not fully developed in high school, and students often rely on stable adults in their lives. Mindfulness can help students self regulate, instead of relying purely on the adults in their lives.

In order to bring the practice of mindfulness into schools, Ms. Bauer has been invited into classrooms as well as tried to dispel myths about what mindfulness and meditation are. When evaluating the effectiveness of mindfulness, Ms. Bauer found that pre and post evaluations indicate a willingness of students to consider the idea of mindfulness. In order to incorporate mindfulness seamlessly into daily life, Ms. Bauer recommends trying square breathing. Square breathing is the process of breathing in for four seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, and breathing out for four seconds. This technique can easily be incorporated in school, at home, or at work. Before your summer and new journeys begin, try out these techniques to bring a sense of calm to your life.