Mindful Moments offer a way to help students cope with stress

During a school year that is full of ambiguity and change, Shaler Area school counselors are finding ways to connect with students with a renewed focus on their mental health.
School counselors have three domains of concentration: academic, career, and social emotional learning. One tool being utilized to focus on the social emotional learning is mindfulness. Mindfulness is creating a state of mind by focusing one's awareness on the present moment and senses, while calmly acknowledging one's feelings, thoughts, and experiences in the body.
For 20 minutes each day, Shaler Area Middle School counselor Kristi Coleman hosts a “Mindful Moment” session on a virtual meeting platform. The Mindful Moments are open to any middle school student, and teachers have the opportunity to bring entire classes into the group. 
“Mindfulness is important because there is so much uncertainty and things that our out of our control,” Ms. Coleman said. “One thing we can control is the time we spend with ourselves and how we care for ourselves. Bringing attention to our perceptions and breathing is one way of becoming present with ourselves. I assist students by using breathing techniques and focus on the present moment to assist in those changes and create more acceptance with oneself.”
The Mindful Moments often begin with a poll to get students to think about a feeling or positive idea followed by an opportunity for students to talk about any topic of concern. Ms. Coleman then leads students in breathing exercises as a way to disconnect from stress and over thinking and to connect with the present moment to create a calmer mind.
Tim Storino, a health and physical education teacher at the middle school, began introducing breathing techniques and mindfulness into his physical education classes this year and brought his entire physical education class into one of Ms. Coleman’s Mindful Moment sessions. 
“Our students have responded in a very positive way and are eager to learn more,” Storino said. “We appreciate our school counselors inviting us to join them in their live virtual mindfulness mediations."
Ms. Coleman started the sessions as a way to connect with students in the hybrid and virtual instruction models and help them cope with the stress of the school year. 
“With the need to highlight our focus on social and emotional lessons, I am creating a lot more mindfulness opportunities this year,” she said.
Throughout her career, Ms. Coleman has lead Shaler Area faculty in meditation and stress relief. This year she also hosts Mindful Moments for staff weekly.

Parents and students can practice mindfulness independently using the resources found in the Virtual Calming Room on the school counselors’ website: https://sites.google.com/shaler.us/k-12-school-services/virtual-calming-room?authuser=0

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1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard     Glenshaw, PA. 15116     P 412-492-1200     F 412-492-1236
1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard Glenshaw, PA. 15116 P 412-492-1200 F 412-492-1236
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