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Taking Teenagers From Aaaaah! To *Om* to Action! Using Contemplative Practices from World Religions to Teach Stress Management and Promote Well-Being

Teenagers deal with hormonal, emotional and psychological stressors in school and out. Identifying and handling stress are critical life skills that need to be learned and incorporated in our daily lives. This unit is an introduction to contemplative practices across the world’s major religions for English Language Learners (ELLs) at the middle and high school level. The contemplative practices will be explained and shared with students specifically as a method to center themselves and de-stress, but also to provide an opportunity for students to share one part of their culture, speak on a familiar subject, and learn about their classmates’ cultures. Students will identify origins of several major world religions on class and individual timelines and world maps. Practices include sitting and walking meditation, yoga, choosing a mantra, and choosing an object of meditation. Students will read, reflect, write, and share their personal practices and thoughts on our unit. The class will create a list of resources: school and community counselors, mental health clinics; school and community sports opportunities; community organizations with contact information for the school and for families.

Meg H. Flisek
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