Northern Utah students to break world record for largest mindfulness lesson

Wednesday , May 02, 2018 - 5:15 AM2 comments

HARRISVILLE — GreenWood Charter School students want to break a Guinness World Record and they are asking the community for help.

Diana Sciandra, the school’s wellness coordinator, is organizing what could be the largest mindfulness lesson in the world. She has asked students, parents, faculty and community members to gather May 23 at noon at the school to break the record.

“It’s going to be fun,” Sciandra said. “It’ll be integrated into the audience where they will be actually practicing mindfulness.”

Holy Mary Institute of Science and Technology in India holds the current record with 432 people participating in a mindfulness lesson at a single venue.

The Mayo Clinic defines mindfulness as “the act of being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment — without interpretation or judgment.”

Students at GreenWood start their day each morning by applying different mindfulness tools in which they control their breathing, stretch and reflect on how to be kinder. 

Mindfulness, Sciandra said, helps students cope with stress in different ways. It also helps them with their learning skills.

Younger students, however, are challenging, and Sciandra has to be more creative in order to have them think about being mindful.

“It could be daunting to teach a kid meditation, if not impossible,” Sciandra said.

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Younger students do the “starfish breathe,” an exercise where the students use one index finger to trace the outline of their open hand. The students’ breathing coincides with the direction their finger is tracing. An upward trace means breathe in and a downward trace means breathe out.

According to an article published in 2015, the Mayo Clinic states that mindfulness exercises reduce negative thinking, anxiety, stress and improves the mood.

Sadie Hatch, 9, said she sometimes does some mindfulness exercises when she is at her home.

“I really like doing mindfulness … when I’m angry,” she said. “I take five deep breaths and I tell myself, ‘Everything is OK.’”

Mindfulness can be implemented at any time, as long as the person is focusing on themselves and are actively being self-aware, Sciandra said.

Bridgett Powell, 9, likes to do some mindfulness exercises before starting her school day and after school. She said it helps her calm down and be a better person. 

“People need to learn mindfulness because mindfulness helps with kindness,” she said. “Even if you are stressed out … you can use mindfulness to be happy.”

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at smartinezbeltran@standard.net or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio.

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