The Wellness Center Brings Zen to West Ranch

Vanessa McLaughlin, Staff Writer

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At West Ranch, the Wellness Center is often recognized for its calming environment and dog therapy. Most students go to these events to have fun doing yoga and petting dogs, but little do students know that they strengthen students’ mindfulness, or the awareness of the world around them. 

Creating a sense of mindfulness is not the easiest thing to do. Most students believe that they have a superior sense of what is going on in other people’s lives, but they are often trapped in a bubble between grades and extracurriculars. Students tend to not notice their lack of awareness because they only notice what they want to. Students have the opportunity to build their awareness by attending events at our very own Wellness Center with yoga, drum circles, meditation, games and everyone’s favorite: dog therapy.

Carmen Delgadillo, a student in Mrs. Chang’s peer counseling class, mentioned some of the mindfulness activities she does to help her with her school life. “Some mindfulness activities that I have implemented into my daily routine are lighting a candle, drawing my favorite characters from movies and listening to relaxing music before I go to bed. Each of these activities clears my mind and makes me focused on only one thing, myself.  There is something about watching a candle flicker and burn that relaxes me.” Carmen recognizes the benefits that come from implementing these mindfulness activities.

Yoga has been proven by mindfulness experts to be relaxing and beneficial for the mind, especially extending the blank canvas of mindfulness. Yoga is a useful tool for developing healthy exercise habits as it improves health, strength, balance and mood. This form of fitness encourages a mindfulness technique that releases trapped energy and emotions.  According to Harvard Health, by learning mindfulness, students can reduce stress and anxiety while calmly acknowledging and coping with issues.  

“It has helped me with my stress and anxiety. I have found myself being a lot more productive and less stressed.  I have also found that I have learned how to deal with my stress and anxiety,” Delgadillo tells The Paw Print.

Kindness is an everyday act that the Wellness Center and peer counseling class encourage among students. The kindness someone shares lets them contain less stress by having immunity to negative thoughts. Any altruistic act creates empathy by going out of one’s way to make someone happy. The empathy that is created through kindness helps people connect, so connecting with other people can be the simplest act of renewing mindfulness. 

Meditation is the most complex form of heightening mindfulness. Meditation seems simple, but it is very difficult. To create a sense of meditation, one must concentrate on breathing without letting thoughts cloud their mind. Most students who try meditation get restless and do not find it relaxing at first, but, with practice, one can find a great sense of peace within themselves.

Delgadillo encourages students to try and find at least one mindfulness activity that they can do every day: “It can be as little as taking time on your day to think of three good things that happened to write in a journal. These mindfulness activities can really help a student during their most difficult times in school.” 

No matter how big or small, these activities that promote mindfulness can make a significant difference in someone’s life.