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Montreal psychologist suggests fighting anxiety in children with mindfulness

WATCH ABOVE: Experts are seeing a rise in anxiety levels among school kids, mainly because of the Internet. As Gloria Henriquez reports, JPPS Elementary in Côte Saint-Luc has decided to tackle the new era problem with a new age solution.

Raising and educating kids in the Internet era can be full of distractions.

A Montreal psychologist says the stress of the morning rush stays with children all day long.

Now, a school in Côte-Saint-Luc has decided to tackle the problem with a new age solution: mindfulness.

It’s a practice meant to increase awareness and encourage living in the moment.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about mindfulness, the latest wellness trend

At JPPS Elementary, kids from pre-kindergarten to Grade 6 take part.

At 8 a.m., classroom lights are turned off and the school’s speakers start broadcasting a live two-minute mindfulness session.

“I feel happy because it helps me calm down,” said Ben Wein, a Grade 6 student.

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“I live 20 minutes away, so I have to rush in the morning. It also helps me to be focused throughout the day and concentrate.”

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Netta Rotstein, the school’s Judaic studies teacher, is the voice and force behind the program.

READ MORE: The science behind the effects of yoga on health

She proposed the idea because she said her students needed it.

“Even if it’s the tiniest of quizzes, I’ll have kids breaking down in tears sometimes in my class and I don’t want to see that,” Rotstein said.

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Some experts say this scenario is quite common, with more and more kids suffering from anxiety.

READ MORE: Young Minds: Stress, anxiety plaguing Canadian youth

“Some estimates have [anxiety levels] at about 25 per cent of kids 13 to 18 [years old],” said Dr. Joe Flanders, a Montreal psychologist.

“It helps develop a greater sense of self awareness, so you’re going to be jumping less from one crisis to another and one distraction. It helps us make better decisions about how to take care of ourselves.”

At JPPS, parents say they’ve noticed the difference.

“Ben was often rushing in the morning, not getting to school on time. It was just a very stressful, hectic, typical morning at home,” Lisa Wein said.

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“He wants to be here for the mindfulness so he hasn’t been late this year.”

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Wein hopes the program expands to high school so older students can benefit as well.