Being Mindful

Students can learn about mindfulness and how to incorporate it into their daily lives with the help of Ms. Vansteenbergen.

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Bennett Clary

Ms. Vansteenbergen focuses on finding new ways to help students improve their mental health.

Bennett Clary, News Editor

Mental health is a topic that every person should be concerned about. A teenager should be mindful of their mental health because they are put under different stress factors throughout their day.  

Ms. Sheryl Vansteenbergen, the school’s personal social counselor, runs a mindfulness group during advisement every Thursday. The 8-week program teaches students how to incorporate mindfulness into their lives and gives them the skills to improve their mental health.  

“A lot of students struggle with feeling anxious in general, so I wanted to have a way to teach people to work with their anxiousness and mindfulness was a way to do that,” Vansteenbergen said. 

Although the group focuses on stress and anxiety, Vansteenbergen recommends everybody learns mindful skills. These skills can be carried with students throughout their lives and help them achieve better mental health.  

“Pretty much anybody can benefit from using mindfulness in their daily life because it’s just learning to pay attention to what’s going on with you in that moment, emotionally or physically,” Vansteenbergen said. 

For students not comfortable being in a group setting, like the one provided at school, they can go into the counselor’s office and talk to Vansteenbergen one-on-one and get the same information. Although students can find helpful resources on mindfulness techniques online or in books, Vansteenbergen still strongly recommends a counselor’s help.  

“There’s a lot of information out there so it’s just learning which information is good information,” Vansteenbergen said. 

For the students in the program, Vansteenbergen hopes they will be able to take away techniques that can become a lifelong skill. These techniques are not complicated and can make students’ days easier.  

“When [students] finish the program they can make this a part of their regular life,” Vansteenbergen said. Like it’s not something you consciously think about.” 

Vansteenbergen is always welcoming new students into the group and hopes more students will join as time passes. She recognizes that the skills students learn in the group setting can be used whenever they need a mental boost.  

It can help people with their daily life because everybody is going to have times when they feel anxious or everybody’s going to have times when they really need to focus,” Vansteenbergen said. 

Mindfulness can become a part of students’ lives if they are willing to reach out to a counselor and ask for advice. Paying attention to their bodies and minds is the first step students can take in becoming more mentally and physically fit.