Dee DiGioia, a certified mindfulness and life skills coach, led a workshop to help students deal with stress. Photo by Zayra Salinas
On Mar. 29 during Study Hall a Mindfulness Workshop took place in the gym with over 150 students participating. The Mindfulness Workshop was brought to AHS by Dee DiGioia, a certified mindfulness and life skills coach, consultant, and author, and was coordinated by the AHS Wellness Center.
Students did activities to experience the concept of being mindful, such as sitting down in complete silence, closing their eyes and focusing on their breathing. In addition to the activities, DiGioia also presented a slideshow about how to be more mindful when responding to stressful situations.
Students and teachers said that they liked the mindfulness workshop and are looking forward to using some of these techniques if they haven’t already. “I really like it; I’ve used some of these techniques before, and they’re very useful when you are going through hard things like stress,” said freshman Chloe Callens. Ms. Zebe
said, “I thought the presenter and the information was fabulous!”
Most mindfulness techniques involve breathing, relaxing, and being calm. Many students benefit from these learning techniques to achieve a mindful, relaxed state. “Everybody benefits from this,” said Wellness Center Director Ms. Proulx. Some outcomes of being mindful are reduced stress, better emotional regulation, and better responses to situations. “We all need more control in our lives, and this helps,” said Ms. Proulx.
Ms. Proulx met the presenter, Ms. DiGioia, at a community collaborative meeting, where people and organizations that support teenagers share what they do. Ms. Proulx then asked DiGioia to come to AHS and show students how being mindful can be part of students’ lives. DiGioia worked with youth for over 35 years before founding the Mindful Kindful YOUniversity to offer mindfulness-based enrichment programs. The organization was designed to address the challenges that youth face in school and life, which can interfere with learning, relationships, and mental well-being. Mindful Kindful YOUniversity offers community programs, in-school programs, consulting, professional development, personal coaching, and mini-retreats throughout the San Luis Obispo County.
DiGioia said, “I have many reasons for sharing information on mindfulness, but in an hour I hoped to interest students and help them manage stress. When I see students asking questions, listening, and participating, then I know that my heart is grateful for the opportunity to share. I believe anything that helps raise awareness for social-emotional well-being is critical, and that mindfulness is the missing piece in education.”