The Leelanau School implements daily mindfulness practice
In mid-afternoon, all Leelanau students and faculty gather to engage in quiet mindfulness activities. This demonstrates to the school community the importance placed on personal wellness. For just 10 minutes, the school attempts to set all worries aside. Students and staff sit in respectful silence and practice bringing the power of choice to what they elect to think about. Through this practice, they develop an awareness that each person can control their amount of worry and choose their response to anxiety throughout the day.
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 1 in 3 of all high school students will experience an anxiety disorder. This represents a 20% increase over a 5 year period. There are various causes of personal anxiety, but given the prominent role of schooling in the lives of adolescents it is important to consider school related triggers. The increased pressures of a competitive school environment, a frightening world with a short news cycle, and the constant connection to social media all construct an increasingly difficult environment for students to navigate.
Chronic anxiety can interfere with students' ability to focus and learn, causing school problems that can have lifelong impacts and can also lead to depression (https://www.healthychildren.org/
The Cleveland Clinic states the theory behind mindfulness connects its practice to an enhanced ability to self-regulate cognitive, emotional and behavioral responses. Further they state, specific benefits of mindfulness for teens also include reduced anxiety and improved focus and concentration, help with self-esteem and memory, reduced blood pressure and heart rate, and help in balancing the immune system (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/
As students encounter ever increasing demands on their productivity and connectivity, it is vital schools also provide the executive functioning strategies that allow them to succeed. Incorporating consistent physical and mental health practices into The Leelanau School curriculum is promoting positive intellectual, social and emotional learning.
Kristie McCaw, Director of Marketing
The Leelanau School