New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
Stressed? Hunterdon County Incorporates Mindfulness and Social and Emotional Learning Strategies to Promote Health and Well-being Among All Ages

Imagine this scenario: Your kids’ lunches are packed; their backpacks ready, and you’ve put them on the bus. You did the breakfast dishes, packed your lunch, checked the afterschool carpool schedule and then head out the door to get to work, trying to ignore the laundry piling up in the hall. Soon, you’re in the car and stuck in traffic. You’re going to be late for work. Chances are, you’re already stressed, and it’s not even 10 a.m. yet!

Does that scenario sound like your daily routine? With our busy and hectic lifestyles, stress can sneak in and catch up to you. At times, stress can be a good thing, helping you to get that big project done or learn a new activity. Yet what about when stress becomes overwhelming? You might feel angry and irritable, or have difficulty concentrating. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, including but certainly not limited to, emotional eating, headaches, stomach pains or difficulty sleeping.

How do we deal with stress? Do we recognize that it is affecting us? What are the best ways to cope with stress?

The Hunterdon County Partnership for Health’s Mental Health Action Team is focused on these questions and is using funding from its Communities Moving to Action award to bring a program called MindUPTM into two Hunterdon County School districts. This program incorporates mindfulness as well as social and emotional learning strategies into the daily class curriculum, helping students manage stress and learn coping skills. Drs. Daphne Davis and Jeffrey Hayes, in an American Psychology Association post, define mindfulness as a “moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”

Incorporating practices that integrate mindfulness can help bring mental processes under control and increase calmness and well-being. This will give Hunterdon County kids, their families, and their school administrators a new tool for dealing with stress.

Want to learn more about mindfulness?

For more information on the Hunterdon County Partnership for Health or the work of our Mental Health Action Team, please contact Rose Puelle at rpuelle@hhsnj.org

Photo: Kingwood & Clinton Township Elementary Teachers attending Mind Up training (Credit: Hunterdon County Partnership for Health)
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Project
Author
Janis R. Clark RN BSN & Rose Puelle, PhD
Organization
Hunterdon County Division of Public Health, Hunterdon Healthcare Partners