In recent years, schools have been paying special attention to the mental health of their students.
Although experiencing feelings of stress is inevitable, schools are trying to find ways to keep the level of stress to a minimum. That is why every day after lunch King takes part in the Mindful Minute.
After years of committing to this practice, some students have begun to question whether or not the Mindful Minute is helping King students.
There is no question that meditation can lower a person’s stress levels. At times when I found myself quite stressed before class, the Mindful Minute allowed me to take a moment in order to collect myself. However, this is something that I would only feel occasionally. In fact on most days, the Mindful Minute does not make me feel any different.
Part of the reason is that mindfulness at King is practiced for a fairly short amount of time. Everyone meditates differently and for many students, including myself, we need to meditate for a longer amount of time.
Grade 11 student at R.H. King Academy, Tina Khan feels it is too brief. “The problem is that as soon as you close your eyes, you have to open them again,” she says. However, it is important to consider that the school might not be able to afford to stop classes for a longer amount of time in order to meditate despite the fact that longer meditations may work better for many students.
Mindfulness at King goes beyond just the Mindful Minute. In the Grade 11 Leadership Course, an entire unit is dedicated to mindfulness. Students are able to practice several forms, some of which are mindful drawing and eating.
By and large, students were satisfied with the course. One of the main reasons for this course being successful was the environment that students were able to meditate in. If I am in a loud classroom where no one is participating in the Mindful Minute, the meditation will not be as effective. Students begin to feel uncomfortable.
Grade 11 student Cecilia Delcampo felt the leadership course was more personal. “Everyone approached the course taking it seriously and with curiosity as well,” she says.
Although it often goes unnoticed, meditation, as it is practiced at King, does more than just calm students down. In practicing meditation it starts to become increasingly normalized. Even if it does not work for a student at school, they will be able to apply the mindfulness strategies in other areas of their life.
In my personal experience, whenever I caught myself panicking outside of school, I would think back to what I practiced in school and as a result, I was able to calm down.
As it turns out, determining if mindfulness at King actually works is not all that simple. It all depends on the students themselves and the environment that they find themselves in.
Although the Mindful Minute may not work for everyone, the school providing it as an option for students is a step in the right direction. With the way I see it, students are lucky that schools are working towards focusing on teen mental health. There is so much rush and stress that people face in life, so learning how to deal with that and more at a young age is quite valuable.