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BLUE BOMBER VOICES: Middle schoolers practicing ‘Mindful Mondays’

February 16, 2018
By Lake Placid Central School , Lake Placid News

Our culture tells us that busy is good; however, we must also be comfortable with silence, being alone and being still.

How often do we find our attention diverted by the stress all around, and how do we cope with this? One group of eighth graders is well on its way to finding out.

A group of Lake Placid students are practicing what they've come to call, Mindful Monday. Each Monday morning, middle school Principal Theresa Lindsay leads a group of eighth graders in activities that aim to increase focus, balance and relaxation. She also shares coping skills and asks students to set their positive intention for the week.

The students are encouraged to journal these intentions in an effort to reach their goals. One student wants to complete her homework on time. Another says she will try to control her anger. One student is trying to become a better listener. All of these are amazing goals that the students set completely by themselves.

Middle schoolers face challenges that we tend to forget as adults, yet these challenges are very real and can produce profound stress and anxiety. Challenges include social groups, academics, athletics, and family situations. Kids need healthy ways to de-stress and the hope is that the practices they learn now will be used throughout their lives.

The focus is on teaching students methods to respond to situations rather than simply reacting. Reactions to stressful situations are made in the moment - bursts of energy rather than thought out responses. Reacting poorly to a situation can make it worse and leave the student questioning themselves.

Mindful Mondays are intended to show students how to stop, think and respond to situations rather than just having a knee-jerk reaction.

One basic exercise shown to students is to breathe deeply in and out, inhaling, exhaling and not reacting in a negative or violent way. By focusing on our deep breaths, it gives us time to think, to realize that many times unkind words come from a person who is troubled themselves.

Another practice is taking tiny bites of food, tasting every bit of it and being thankful for every person, animal or plant involved in the production process of that food. How often do we ever stop to do that?

The students have also learned to really listen, to hear even the faintest sounds instead of just the obvious. They learn to just be still and listen.

Each of these practices are beneficial in the classroom and at home.

Students lives are so busy that it is important to take a moment or two to be still, reflect, and relax, even if you re only in the eighth grade.



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