Gearan and Shea create mindfulness group


Kaitlyn Ewald , Editor

   High school can be a very stressful and hectic time, so it’s important for students to have access to resources to destress and practice mindfulness. Guidance counselor Maryann Shea and adjustment counselor Paula Gearan have created a drop-in mindfulness group to try to help improve the everyday lives of students and faculty. 

   “The point of the group is to offer a drop-in space and time for students and faculty to use as needed to practice having a mindful sit in a short and manageable way,” Gearan said. 

   The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday mornings for eight minutes at 8:30 am sharp in the Media Center for guided meditation. The group helps individuals find some calm and relaxation in moments of need.  

    “The effect and impact that is intended is to create a moment of quiet and peace, which can sustain throughout the day,” Gearan said. 

   Meditation can help clear the mind to improve attention and create a state of relaxation and peacefulness.

    “I think that this group could really help students because it’s difficult to find calm in the school day with such a strict schedule and lots of work,” junior Coco Kouyoumjian said.

    This practice can help students focus on school work and improve thinking and creativity. A study conducted in 2016 at Simon Fraser University found that 93 students of a third year Business Ethics course experienced significantly better thinking and behavior in the classroom after only 10 minutes of meditation. Additionally, new ways of approaching stressful situations can be created with the deeper state of relaxation brought on by mediation. 

    “There are a lot of people we need to connect with and things we need to do, but our brains can backfire on us especially when we’re as busy as we are in this society, and that our brains won’t stop. It’s really difficult when your body is on that high to let it relax,” Shea said.

    Finding compassion for oneself is key for reducing and letting go of stress. Practicing mindfulness is a way to show this because it’s a time for one to set everything aside and focus on oneself. 

   “You can teach your mind to unplug, to enjoy the moment, and let go of the stress. Certainly, as people practice, they discover that within that stillness, they can really attend to some of the bigger things that they want to attend to in their lives in a more intentional, less judgemental, and more compassionate way,” Shea said. 

    Mindfulness is important in dealing with stress, anxiety, the pressure of life, and finding some joy. Many celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, and Paul McCartney have talked about how mindfulness can be an important and effective way of self care. In an article on, Winfrey discussed the power of meditation.   

   “The voice in your head is so constant: ‘I need to do (blank), I am (blank).’ It’s easy to mistake that voice for you until you’ve been ‘still’ enough to know otherwise,” said Winfrey.  

   Integrating this practice into everyday life can improve many different aspects of one’s daily experiences. 

   “It’s something both Ms. Gearan and I, the whole counseling department feels really strongly that it is a positive and important thing to incorporate into their lives,” Shea said.