Fighting stress at school with meditation and mindfulness

- Silence isn't something you'd see or hear in gym class. But at Bethpage JFK Middle School that's how each period starts.

"You get to calm yourself and just be ready for the rest of the day," says Meghan McGlynn, 7th grader.

For the first four minutes of phys ed. Kids de-stress. It's just one part of a new calm classroom curriculum led by school social worker Erin Hayes. She says it helps with attention, grades, stress and anxiety.

Students can also visit the mindfulness room if they need a break in their day. They're able to listen to soothing water, explore creativity in the Zen garden, play with putty and practice yoga.

"Deep breathing just gets you calm right away," says Andy Mandolese, a 7th grader. Once you walk in upset you come out happy and proud."

Teaching this sort of relaxation as early as kindergarten has proven to be beneficial, especially in a world of information overload where multitasking is becoming the norm.

Over at John W. Dodd Middle School, 7th grader Jaden Scott leads a group in meditation exercises. It's part of a program to reduce stress and focus the mind. Students say it works.

"A meta moment is a time period that before you do something wrong you take that one second just to gather yourself back and make sure you do the right decision, that you don't make the wrong one, which could affect you later on," Jaden says.

Next time you're feeling angry or anxious, try taking a deep breath. Maybe you'll feel better.

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