Middle school is a crazy time. There’s more independence, more responsibility, more pressure and more expectation. In short, just more to BE and DO. On top of this, middle school-aged kids are dealing with their own changing bodies and hormones which can be confusing and frustrating and often times difficult to navigate. We know. It may have been a little while ago, but we remember those days of intense emotions and growing self-awareness. What we wish we had then is a tool more kids are adding to their life skill toolbox today: mindful meditation.
“Release” is the second in a series of “mindful shorts” from Julie Bayer Salzman, Josh Salzman and Wavecrest films, the first being “Just Breathe” which focused on anger and some enlightening kindergarteners. Turning their attention to middle schoolers, the filmmakers present us with that old familiar influx of activity and stress, now with the added aspect of ubiquitous technology (aka smartphones). While we face our own potentially anxiety-laden flashbacks (those were the days!) thankfully the film then switches—with the ringing of the singing bowl—to a mindful meditation practice, and we are at once put at ease. (Seriously, we’re no scientists but check your pulse and breathing in the first minute of the film and then at the end. We bet they slowed way down.)
“We get stuck thinking our emotions won’t change, especially the unpleasant ones,” the mindfulness instructor tells the students. “Mindfulness gives us this choice. It gives us this freedom to choose how to respond as opposed to react right away.”
And in just a few short words, and long, deep breaths, we understand the power we all have to take a step back and make better decisions for ourselves—a mighty helpful lesson when life feels like it’s spinning out of control (at any age).
More about “Release”:
“Release” is the 2nd in our series of Mindful Shorts, and it focuses on stress and anxiety as experienced by middle school kids. 70% of middle school students today report feeling “stressed out” — an alarming figure, and a sign that something must be done to help kids manage the sense of overwhelm and frustration they experience so that they can blossom into young adults who are equipped to navigate their way through life’s challenges in a positive, productive way. We hope this film in some small way helps not just kids, but everyone who suffers from the toxic effects of stress and anxiety.
Our intention is to continue this series of short films, climbing up through the ages and the corresponding mental/habitual states of mind that commonly arise in each stage of life (i.e. Depression in High School, Trauma in College, Addiction in Mid-Life, Grief in Later Years), with each film probing deeper and deeper into Mindfulness.
We invite you to watch and share.