Mindfulness in the Middle School – Student Perspectives
Our names are Megan, Jacob, and Sarah, and we are eighth-grade students at Lincoln Park MS. Every year, the teachers come up with great new ideas to keep the students mindful and calm. Last year, homeroom and core course teachers began integrating meditation into class, giving students the skills to decrease pretest stress and feel at ease in everyday life. This year, yoga is the main focus of the new mission for mindfulness. Each of us has been using mindful activities in different ways.
Sarah: Mental health is an important subject in middle school students, particularly teenagers. In a fast-moving online world, teens and adults are put under more mental stress than ever. To release that stress, a favorite method of mine is the Three Senses Meditation. It focuses on grounding yourself and being aware of your surroundings. While some use all five senses, my personal preference is to use three. Here is how it works: find three things that you see and identify them. For example, table, notebook, lamp. Then, close your eyes and identify three things you hear, such as birds chirping, dishwasher running, and your breath. Finally, choose three things you feel. This can include the chair beneath you, the socks on your feet, and the pencil in your hand. It’s that simple! I choose to use this meditation method before tests and to wind down after a busy day. I have definitely seen an improvement in my mood and how organized my life is. Our schools are presenting teens with skills that will help us, that you can try too.
Megan: Balancing school and social life can be challenging. That’s why the LP Schools provide students with yoga lessons, meditations, and stress relieving activities. My favorite stress reliever is abstract doodles. It is very calming and simple. Start to draw random squiggles or lines on paper with a marker, until you are satisfied. Next, draw anything you want within those lines: Patterns, shapes, landscapes, etc. You can add some color with markers. Depending on how much effort you put into it, it could be finished within minutes or days, but whatever you do, the result will be amazing. This activity will keep your mind active and prevent you from any distractions. This is a great activity to easily relieve your stress and make you feel calm. I know that it works for me, so why not give it a try just like we do in LP.
Jake: Stress can be caused by schoolwork and even sports. Schoolwork can cause stress because if we have sports and extracurricular activities, we have to find time to get them both done. Sports can cause stress due to many practices or games in our weekly schedule. In homeroom we have done mindfulness activities like mindful drawing, meditation, and simple yoga. These help me to relax after a stressful day or when I need to focus for a test. These skills can help our students now and in their future lives.
About the Grantee
Lincoln Park Middle School serves over 400 students in grades 5 - 8 and LP Elementary serves nearly 500 in pre-K - 4.