Have you heard of the practice of mindfulness in schools? Educators across the globe are exploring concepts stemming from the East Asian practice of meditation and applying new student-focused mindfulness techniques in their classroom.
Mindful Schools, a group dedicated to disseminating resources for schools and teachers that would like to use mindfulness in their own classrooms, explains: “Healthy stress is a natural part of life, including childhood. Children and adults alike need to be challenged in order to grow and develop. However, in the modern education system, healthy stress is frequently displaced by toxic stress. Toxic stress occurs when life’s demands consistently outpace our ability to cope with those demands.”
This toxic stress can make it difficult for students to focus on lessons while at school. Not only that, but toxic stress is often the cause of increased emotional distress and poor mood and sleep regulation. Employing mindfulness techniques in the classroom can seriously help to abate the problems that stem from toxic stress. Mindful Schools cites articles from several peer reviewed journals that explain “that mindfulness practice decreases stress and anxiety, increases attention, improves interpersonal relationships, strengthens compassion, and confers a host of other benefits.”
But mindfulness is not just good for students, it’s also good for teachers, parents, administrators… In fact, the practice of mindfulness can help any child or adult in coping with the mounting stress of life.
Kristina Suter, a special education teacher from Lancaster, PA, tell Child Mind that she is “convinced that teaching mindfulness is helping [her] kids—particularly the ones who suffer from anxiety.” In her classroom, there are many students who do experience serious anxiety. “Often they’re worried about everything else that’s going on,” Suter says. “What’s going to happen later. They have trouble focusing on the moment. The mindfulness brings them back into the present moment so they can learn.”
Want to see mindfulness at school in action? Check out this video: