Mindfulness and Calm
Student life at MLWGS is often a dazzling jumble of coursework, club meetings, sports competitions, music performances, and social time. Add a part-time job or college application season and Wowza! finding a few minutes of calm can be challenging. Fortunately, there are strategies that can help when you’re feeling frazzled – strategies like breath awareness, coloring, and mindful movement.
For a moment of calm or creative diversion, stop by the library’s Creativity and Calm cabinet or sink into one of the bright, comfy bean bags in Counseling’s Mindfulness room. If you need to talk to someone about your worries, see one of the counselors in the MLWGS Counseling Department.
Periodically, Ms. DeGroat teaches Mindfulness and Calm exercises that can help you feel calmer or more focused – and perhaps fall asleep more easily. The curriculum is based on Koru Mindfulness, a program developed to support students at Duke University; Ms. DeGroat is a Koru-certified mindfulness teacher.
MLWGS students have reported finding these practices useful to sleep better, feel calmer before a test or performance, stay calmer during tense situations, heighten their focus as they step onto the starting blocks or take a seat behind the wheel, or to shift their attention away from ruminating thoughts or worries that make them anxious.
Curious to learn more? Check out a book about mindfulness — or download, watch, read, or listen to one of the resources below.
What are the benefits of paying closer attention to your attention?
Neuroscientist Amishi Jha sheds light on this question:
Mindfulness Recordings (brief talks & guided practices)
MW Library’s Mindfulness and Calm playlist on Soundcloud (note: if you’re at school, the recording may take a few minutes to buffer, especially around lunchtime)
Free Mindfulness and Calm Apps
These apps offer a variety of strategies for shifting your attention away from your worries, whether to your breath, your senses, an image, or a recording.
- SAM app from the University of West England, Bristol – designed to help people understand and manage anxiety
- Mindshift app from BC Children’s Hospital and Anxiety BC – designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety
- Breathe2Relax from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology – developed to teach diaphragmatic breathing (a.k.a. belly breathing) for stress relief
If focusing on an image helps you concentrate on breathing, the one-minute animation below might be useful. For more videos, see the library’s related YouTube playlist.
- Coffitivity – Do you find the bustle and hum of a coffeeshop soothing? Surround yourself with these sounds virtually with Coffitivity
- From the Apple store – look for apps like Nature Melody and Classic Melody
- From Google Play – look for apps like Nature Sounds and Sleep Pillow
Physical exercise is a fabulous stress reliever.
Get active during lunch or after school. Walk, run, or roll around the track. Throw a frisbee. Shoot hoops. Hula hoop. Prefer to be with a group? Play sports or join the Dodgeball Club, Bhangra Dance Club, or Frisbee Club.
Make. Build. Color. Coloring books are available in Counseling’s Mindfulness room and the library’s Creativity and Calm station (where you’ll also find origami paper, fidget toys, and magnetic poetry kits). Prefer to be with a group? Sign up for an art, photo, or DigVid class, join the Art Club, Robotics, or Technology Student Association, or participate in an activity organized by the Fine Arts Honor Society.
Soundplay. Sing with friends, laugh, play an instrument. Prefer to be with a group? Sign up for a music or chorus class, or join a music-related club like Deadbeats or the Appalachian Heritage Music Club.
Imaginative play. Read or write a story, play, or poem (the library has a wide array of books). Play chess. Try improv. Game. Prefer to be with a group? Sign up for Creative Writing, join Chess Club or Drama Club, or try out for a school play.