Mindfulness: A Positive Program For Westside Students And Staff


Aayushi Chaudhary

Mindfulness is a program that helps relax the brain.

Westside High School Counselor, Kirk Henningsen, incorporates Mindfulness into Westside High School for both teachers and students. Henningsen said Mindfulness is the awareness that arises when you pay attention on purpose in the present moment without judgement. Henningsen runs sessions for teachers and seniors to help improve their mindfulness. 

“It’s a simple thing,” Henningsen said. “One way to do Mindfulness is to just focus on your breath. When you notice that you are losing focus you bring your attention back to the breath.”

Henningsen said that Mindfulness sessions can be more productive when participating with others. 

“When you do it with other people there’s a shared sense of community and something about it that makes a difference for people,” Henningsen said. “You can have hiccups if you are trying too hard or [are] over focusing. Having someone there with you explaining how to do certain things and encourage you through things helps.”

Counselor Ted Dondlinger said that he think Henningsen’s Mindfulness classes are very useful and can be applied into one’s day to day life.

“It’s a cool mix of different aspects,” Dondlinger said. “It’s something that makes you feel good emotionally and very logical in the reasons it works. The practice is just in general wonderful. It’s also kind of a philosophy. You’re not just practicing for those minutes, it’s something you bring into your whole life.”

Dondlinger said that taking time to rest your mind can have a positive impact.

“If nothing else, just setting aside some time and letting your mind rest,” Dondlinger said. Just sitting down and allow yourself to take a mind break for 5 minutes; it’s very refreshing.”