Mindfulness and You


Nicole Wells

Ms. Reidelberger

Breeanna Rauschkolb, Editorial Writer

To carry out life with a better outlook, many 201 staff and students are using mindfulness techniques to ensure they are becoming their happiest selves. Finding new ways to bring positivity can add purpose, hope, and faith to your everyday life. Finding my spirituality has been a journey like no other. I went back and forth on if it was a hoax or genuinely a life-bettering experience. Meditation, manifestation, chakra healing, the law of attraction, it can all be quite confusing. Should you believe in any of it? Well, that’s up to you, but here are the steps that I’ve chosen to take and how they’ve bettered my life and mentality. 

What is Spirituality? 

To believe in spirituality you have to know what it is, right? Spirituality could have a different meaning to everyone. According to Christina Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, “Spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.” A big thing in mindfulness and spirituality is energy. I will get into this a little deeper in the next section, but essentially everything carries energy, meaning everything absorbs energy. ‘Good vibes’ as many say, is just a more basic way of saying ‘positive energy’. Overall, spirituality is the belief in something greater than yourself, and working to have this greater power add positivity to your life. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pray or even have to believe in religion at all. Many spiritualistic people, even myself, do not believe in religion or the belief in prayer. Now, this doesn’t make religious people…not spiritual. The belief in God is still a belief in something greater than yourself. All my life I’ve been around religious people, to the point where I thought it was a mandate to believe in the Bible. I realized about 4 years ago that this is not the case, everyone is their own person and is able to believe in anything that gives them hope to make every day a memorable experience. For those people out there like me who feel religion is not for them, no big deal. We’ll get through this. The next step to becoming spiritualistic is knowing what you do to practice it, right? Exactly – don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

How to Practice Spiritualism

Not going to lie to you, the header you just read was one massive typo. Why? Because there’s no way I can sit here and tell you how exactly to become spiritualistic, no one could. There is no one right or wrong way to practice spiritualism. But with the help of some of our own Belleville 201 staff and the journey I’ve taken, I can give you loads of things to think about bringing into your everyday life. If you know me, you know I love involving practices that better the energy around me. One thing I do believe in is the law of attraction. In no way could I ever explain to you everything that goes into the law of attraction in this article, but essentially, it is the belief and understanding of the universe’s karma. That if you put out positive energy you will get it back in return, and the same for negative energy. Meaning, I keep myself in check on being nicer to people, and overall just adding more positive energy out into the universe, so that later the people in my life and myself get that back in return. The next thing I believe in and practice is manifestation. Manifestation is essentially writing down a goal, working to get towards it, and putting it out into the universe as if it has already happened. Combining this with the law of attraction is key, because that positive energy boomerang I mentioned? Now you will get positive energy back, and be able to live your dream life as well, as long as you work and not solely rely on the universe itself. You are channelling that positivity you’ve put out into the universe and focusing it on your dreams so that when the positivity comes back around, you are able to be a step closer to your goals, if not achieve them. The third thing I do and practice is chakra healing, which is the ability to balance each level of energy in the body. There are many ways to practise chakra healing, including yoga, healing crystals, cleansing the energy around you, or meditation. I do yoga every morning before I workout, I cleanse the energy around me by burning and waving incense around me, or burning sage which essentially banishes all the ‘bad vibes’ from your area, and your crystals appreciate this care too! It not only banishes the negative energy from your space but also the negative energy your crystals have slowly absorbed over time. Meaning their benefits increase once the negativity is gone. I meditate and manifest every night before bed to calm myself down after a long day, and I hold healing crystals every time I do this to add even more energy into my surroundings (each crystal has different healing benefits, I would look this up for more detail). Some of our District 201 community practices mindfulness in different ways as well. Here are some quotes from a few of the people we look up to every day. 

Advice from Staff

Mrs. Amber Thurnau, one of West’s English teachers, also practices yoga and believes in maintaining a mindfulness lifestyle. “My first experience with yoga was when our last librarian would hold yoga after school in the library. I fell in love with stretching and breathing at the end of a long day. I try to use mindful breathing several times a day to reduce my stress and help me to focus,” she said. Thurnau told me she took a course over the summer on how to bring mindfulness into her classroom, and speaking as one of her past students, she definitely has a positive impact on everyone who walks through her door. “Mindfulness and breathing can have strong and positive benefits on students, the classroom, and the school as a whole,” she said.

Two of our librarians also had a conversation with me on their own practices and how they’ve changed their lives. Ms. Tiffany Droege, our library director, told me not only how she uses mindfulness to bring positivity, but also how it helps her get through some of life’s difficult challenges. “I’ve been using mindfulness meditation as a tool for years to help with anxiety,” Droege said. “When I slack on my mindfulness routine, I can definitely feel a difference: I’m way more irritable, I don’t enjoy my days, I feel overwhelmed, and I start slacking on other self-care. It was hard at first to work in meditation, deep breathing and nature walks into my daily routine because I have a busy life, but I’ve found that if I don’t take the extra time, I’m just in a funk.” She is a prime example of how mindfulness can make a difference, give someone a new perspective, and introduce an almost therapeutic way of thinking to our daily lives.

Ms. Reidelberger (Nicole Wells)

The last interview I had was with Ms. Reidelberger, who explained the long process of how she got into spiritualism. Becoming mindful, or spiritualistic, is not always an easy thing. Some people, including myself and Ms. Reidelberger, have found it difficult to stick with our practices, to make a change, and to become in tune with our own thoughts and intuition. “I spent many, many years of my life being very angry at the world. I would try so hard to find positive things to keep me going. However, due to how miserable I allowed my job to make me, those things I tried to do were fleeting. Trying to practice mindfulness was a huge struggle because I didn’t know how to address or process my anger. Negativity is an easy emotion to get sucked into- being positive takes more work. That work can be made easier by practicing mindfulness because it forces one to take a look at themselves- to see it all-the good, the bad, the ugly and how you can approach those things. When I figured out that mindfulness wasn’t about guaranteeing happiness, suddenly the work made more sense. There will still be bad days, and angry days, but the key to not letting it take over is to address it, recognize it, meditate on it, and move on. Continuing to practice mindfulness has given me a greater sense of peace, to understand some things are beyond my control.” Even though I have been into spiritualism for a while now, these conversations were insanely inspiring to me, having these interviews was almost like feeling the motivation and sense of purpose I felt when I first realised I wanted to fight to make a change in my life, regardless of how difficult it got at times. Everyone I have talked to has found ways of reminding me why I am passionate about maintaining positivity every day, and why I chose to take the steps to better myself. All of the quotes I received show that there is no right or wrong way to be mindful. Each one of these ladies is an excellent example of perseverance and an inspiration to everyone who crosses their path. These interviews brought me so much happiness and I loved getting to know more about the people I have learned to look up to.

How This Has Impacted Me

Spirituality has added so much value to my life. It has made me more positive, gives me a sense of purpose and hope, and has even made me able to better understand myself. I have realised my strengths and flaws thanks to finding my way of spirituality. Trusting the universe with the energy in my life helps keep me on the positive side mentally daily. Now, this does not mean spiritualistic practices are for everyone. I had an interview with one of Belleville West’s biology teachers, Seth Garrett, and being a science guy, healing crystals and a Tibetan singing bowl may not be for him, but he managed to surprise me with the way he views mindfulness and spirituality. 


“Science… never solves a problem without creating ten more.”

– George Bernard Shaw


Biology teacher Mr. Seth Garrett agreed to have a short interview with me to discuss his opinions on spirituality and mindfulness. Not everyone agrees or believes in the things I have mentioned, and if this is you, here are some inspiring words on how Mr. Garrett feels about the importance of maintaining positivity throughout hardships. 

“As a person who has a background in science, focusing on the ‘facts’ comes with the territory. That being said, I am a big believer in the right for a person to focus on their spirituality and faith. But I often wonder where the scientific facts and a person’s own beliefs intersect. Neither a scientific or spiritual approach to our way of life is wrong. They both have their merits and it’s very possible that a combination of both is the best way for a person to approach each day.”

One of my favourite things about this interview was how Mr. Garrett, even as a science guy, was able to accept and respect the spiritual side of finding faith and hope. This topic being something I talk to a lot of people about, I’ve realised how rare it is for someone who doesn’t fully believe in spiritualistic practices to still appreciate, and accept the people who do, and to even understand that for some people, science and spiritualism go hand-in-hand. Here are more of his thoughts. 

“No matter what perspective you have, spiritual or scientific, being positive in one’s daily life is a must. It’s the only way an individual can consistently be successful. Being negative will only breed more negativity. However, when negative times come our way, we have to take them into account. As human beings, we learn from our mistakes and from the mistakes of others.”

I agree very strongly with a lot of what Garrett had to say about maintaining positivity, I very much believe that focusing on the negativity in life will only bring more negativity. I also agree with the fact that it might not always be easy, but working on finding the positives, and learning from your mistakes can help you maintain an overall positive outlook on life. My biggest takeaway from this conversation was that even people with opposing viewpoints about positivity can still agree on the importance of mindfulness in everyday life. 

Spirituality is making an impact on everyone who takes the time to practise it. I encourage you to find a new daily practice, but don’t overload yourself with 10 practices to keep up with all at the same time. Take it slow, try out a mindfulness technique, and see if spirituality is something that can help you become in tune with yourself. This could easily better your life and add positivity to your everyday routine, just like it has mine.