I work in a public high school in New York City. That sentence alone might send a lot of anxiety sisters into a tailspin (high school + Manhattan = chaos…at least sometimes). I must admit that as an anxiety sister myself, I don’t always do the best job of making time to manage my anxiety. I know that daily meditation would do me a lot of good, but, frankly, I’m forgetful and lazy when it comes down to it.
Enter some well-timed students who are taking a class called “The Science of Yoga and Meditation.” They were looking for volunteers (including teachers) to help them with an experiment concerning the effects of meditation on memory. Knowing it would force me to meditate, I happily agreed to take part in the study.
Today was the first day of the experiment. A small group of students and a few of my colleagues sat in my classroom together in the dark while a student led us in a five-minute meditation. I was impressed not only with her very professional and calming voice but also with how calm I felt at the conclusion of the meditation session. I look forward to a few more weeks of these daily sessions, and I hope they will help me improve my anxiety levels and get me into a meditation routine.
With all of the stress that can be found in a school environment, I am so thrilled that students are starting to take control of their own mental health. These young women actually taught me something I should have already realized, which is how important it is to take time for yourself and breathe–particularly when it takes such a small commitment (five minutes!) to get immediate anxiety relief. If more teenagers make meditation part of their daily lives, it will go a long way in lessening their anxiety and making the learning environment more effective.