Mindful moment allows students break in stressful day


Olivia Battles

Students wait for Chik-fil-a from the school store and socialize with friends during the mindful moment block. Staff Writer Shakila Sivarajan writes that this new 10 minute block has given her and many other students a time to destress and reorganize during a busy school day.

Shakila Sivarajan, Staff Writer

As I leaned my head against the cold bus window on Friday, Jan. 31, thankful that I won’t be woken up to the beeps of my alarm tomorrow morning, I pondered about my first week of semester two. The new electives, new lunch schedules and something different to our school: the 10-minute mindfulness block. 

These 10 minutes ended up saving me a lot of trouble in the first week. During those 10 minutes, I was able to make a guidance appointment on Tuesday, I went to the library to borrow a Chromebook on Wednesday and got the papers from a teacher after turning in an assignment on Thursday. And I got it all done during school time without arriving early or staying after. Nor did I miss any minute of class. 

I also saw other students using those 10 minutes in the hallways to their benefit as well. Some students were stopping by their lockers to get textbooks for their next class which is something that I rarely see with the typical five minute passing period.

Besides catching up academic-related matters, this time can also be useful to catch up with friends or grab a snack, something I am usually unable to do in a regular schedule. On Friday, I did just that, getting a snack from the vending machine and feeling rejuvenated for the rest of the day. Most school days I feel hungry by mid-morning since I don’t have time for breakfast before catching the school bus. I also know that others can use the 10 minute block to their advantage like I did, especially those who have third lunch.

All my friends I’ve talked to about the mindful moment share my view that these 10 minutes are beneficial, and I’m sure many other Algonquin students feel the same way.

The stress that many Algonquin students have is unhealthy and prevents them from showing their full potential, so those 10 minutes help them destress and relax, doing whatever they think will benefit them the most. Just like how people take care of their bodies, I think we have to take care of our minds too. Overall, I think that introducing this 10 minute block is really great.

According to the 2014 American Psychological Association Survey, the drive to get good grades and gain acceptance into good colleges, combined with participation of after-school activities and hours of homework mix together to make teenagers the most stressed group of people in America when school is in session. In the survey, teens report that their stress level during the school year exceeds what they believe to be healthy (5.8 versus 3.9 on a 10 point scale) and tops adults’ average reported stress levels (5.8 for teens versus 5.1 for adults).

This is scary to me because we are still dependent on our parents. In the effort to combat teen stress, students at Marblehead High School in Marblehead, Mass., have a directed meditation during their mindfulness time. Maybe in the future, Algonquin students will have an option for guided meditation, a natural way of healing. 

The 10 minute block will also help teachers as well to catch a breath. Teachers, just like students, are stressed, burdened with grading assignments, offering after and before school help and preparing for classes. These 10 minutes may be useful to them for whatever they want to do.

In this highly competitive and fast paced world, where the teenagers are in need of ways to cope with stress, it is my view that a mindfulness-based curriculum may be a good idea, but for now, the 10 minute mindfulness block is truly great.