When teachers help educate students mindfully and share mindfulness best practices, the classroom comes alive as an invitingly open and productively energetic space. The benefits of mindfulness for students become apparent when they gain the ability to elevate their emotional intelligence and reduce stress so that the focus reverts to purposeful academic progression.
What is meant by mindfulness?
Harvard University defined mindfulness as an alert, open awareness of one’s body and the environment, a state of mind that minimizes student stress and promotes mental, emotional and physical wellness. People from all walks of life, regardless of background or ethnicity, benefit from mindfulness’s enhanced awareness.
What role does mindfulness play in education?
Mindfulness is introduced as techniques or practices that teach students to become self-aware, take care of their bodies, and empower them to manage emotions more effectively. Educators are gradually waking up to the benefits of mindfulness in schools.
According to Deakin University, mindfulness has powerful implications for health and well-being. In the modern educational milieu, educational therapy programs positively change the child’s empowered mind space.
How do mindfulness activities empower students?
5 Top reasons why teach mindfulness in schools
Here are some of the most popular mindfulness exercises that schools are incorporating in the curriculum to catalyze positive thinking and promote wellness.
Stress reduction by mindful reading
Taking a short break, the teacher allows students to read something they enjoy. The teacher observes and encourages students to share their views about what they’ve read and their emotions while reading.
This form of educational therapy changes a student’s perspective, generates awareness about other’s feelings and points of view, and improves emotional regulation.
Guided mindful meditation
Students are seated cross-legged on a mat on the floor, hands on the thigh, palms facing up; they close their eyes and exhale slowly, mindful of their breathing. The teacher shares a word or asks to visualize a picture or scenery and asks the students to repeat the word or dwell on the image in their minds.
Mindful meditation calms the body, curbs restlessness, and directs the students to connect with their inner emotional state of peace.
Yoga and the art of mindful movement
Yoga’s slow, silent stretches strengthen the student’s mind, emotions, and body just as you’d walk in a park soaking in the peacefulness, breathing deeply, and enjoying the natural wonders of the environment.
Breath control is another aspect that reverts the body to calm repose. The teacher instructs the student to inhale; eyes closed, imagine any color they think symbolizes love and exhale, picturing any color that represents anger. As a result, every inhalation relaxes the body; every exhalation stabilizes the mind.
Inculcating the attitude of gratitude through mindfulness
The teacher requests students to keep a journal where every day they write down in a few sentences the best thing that happened the previous day they felt pleased about. After that, this activity can be grouped on a sharing basis.
Such mindful practices are a great way to remove negativity and substitute sadness, anger, and frustration with positivity and gratitude.
Loud and clear positive affirmations
Students move away from unhealthy situations or bad practices by voicing positive affirmations. Students are taught to communicate such affirmations loudly to themselves to ward off negativity and internalize positive energy, which can be channeled academically, socially, and emotionally in a beneficial way. These sessions are definitive mood boosters.
The benefits of mindfulness for children and how students internalize positive change
Mindfulness’s most beneficial impact is dramatically reducing the stress of faculty and the student community. The resilience to stress, overall, shows marked improvement.
Increasing the frequency of mindfulness practice, even if the sessions are over in minutes, improves health both in the short term and over a long time.
According to a 2017 U.S. survey, the percentage of adults and students benefiting from mindfulness tripled between 2012 and 2017. The level of cognitive awareness and intellectual alertness improved, and this impacted performance positively over time.
Students undergoing psychoeducational testing programs become more receptive to mindfulness practices. Faculty can develop and customize best mindfulness practices to cater for the needs of different age groups and contexts.
Educational therapy for autism has proven to be a game changer for overcoming the disability, paving the way for increasing the adoption of mindfulness sessions that improve cognitive intelligence.
Schools that are most sensitive to the developmental changes and shifting needs of students, those that have adopted mindfulness as a mission statement, have registered marked improvement in the student’s social, emotional, and physical health.
According to Surya Chandra Healing Yoga researcher Erica Baxter, mindfulness in education confers 10 striking benefits on students:
- Immediate but long-lasting reduction in anxiety.
- Ability to better manage stress and substitute anxiety with calm purposefulness.
- Increased attentiveness and better focus without distraction.
- Better control over emotions and mature emotional reactivity to daily situations.
- Heightened capability for self-regulation and more self-awareness about one’s potential.
- Discovering an oasis of peace in the midst of emotionally trying and frustrating circumstances.
- The ability to quickly regain one’s calm without emotionally draining oneself.
- Broadening the horizons of one’s perspectives to become better planners and strategic thinkers.
- Reducing examination anxiety with improved memory training and concentration and eliminating confused thinking and mind fog.
- Mitigating the drawbacks of disabilities such as ADHD and autism and improving cognitive thinking and responsiveness to daily life situations.
Introducing mindfulness in education benefits students positively. Even children with disabilities will find mindfulness a powerful tool that unlocks their potential for academic excellence.
Educational therapy services can identify patterns of disabilities such as ADHD or autism. The findings can be used to finetune targeted interventions that tackle the underlying disability so that students make the most of mindfulness sessions and manage stress more effectively.