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Tempe school’s ‘mindfulness room’ helps students with stress, anxiety

(KTAR News/Griselda Zetino)

TEMPE — Students at Corona del Sol High School aren’t just being taught English, math and science. They also have the option of learning about mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is the awareness of thoughts, feelings and emotions in the present moment without harmful judgement,” said Lauri Pagano, the school’s social worker.

She added that mindfulness helps people focus on the present instead of living in the past or worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future.

Corona del Sol students can learn more about this by visiting the “mindfulness room” on campus. It’s filled with a variety of comfy chairs and couches as well as bean bags and round cushion pads that go on the floor.

Students go there to relieve stress and anxiety.

Pagano said many students use it as a space where they can go for help dealing with issues such as “the drama they encounter on social media, the pressures to perform and anxieties about taking tests and quizzes.”

This year, the Tempe Union High School District is opening a mindfulness room at each of its seven schools. Corona del Sol is the first to complete and open its room to students.

“Students in high school are facing tough times,” said Jennifer Liewer, the district’s community relations director. “There is a lot of anxiety and stress, and probably more so than we’ve seen in a really long time.”

“As a district we wanted to do something to provide additional services to students who were struggling,” she added.

The mindfulness rooms will be headed by one or two people, including social workers and teachers, who’ve been trained on mindfulness. The training was paid for by the Arizona governor’s office.

At Corona del Sol, Pagano said she has already been seeing the impact the school’s mindfulness room is having on students. She said they often are skeptical at first.

“But when they start practicing it for themselves, they realize, ‘Oh wow, this has been helping me’ … or ‘I can see a use for this in my daily life,’” she said.

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