The Benefits of Mindfulness in Schools
Mindfulness in the school environment has been found to have numerous benefits for the classroom, Below are a few of the benefits of mindfulness in the school environment.
Stress can be defined as a relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being. While stress is a normal part of life, prolonged or frequent negative stress is detrimental. Practicing mindfulness helps students and adults find an inner calm.
Science is now documenting the negative impact that stress is having on learning every day. The neurological processes that explain this interaction are collectively called executive function, which includes—
• an organized search
• impulse control
Not surprisingly the research proves executive function correlates with working memory, emotional regulation, and resilience. The data shows that stress and poverty result in lower executive function and working memory in kids.
Attention focuses one’s awareness on what is occurring in the present moment. A more scientific definition of attention is the ability to self-sustain mindful, conscious processing of stimuli whose repetitive, non-arousing qualities would otherwise lead to habituation and distraction to other stimuli.
Sustained focus involves two processes: (1) the ability to monitor one’s thoughts to determine whether or not they are focussed on the task at hand, (2) the ability to adjust one’s attention as needed. Attention is necessary for learning. Improving students ability to focus on learning tasks will increase their ability to achieve. Attention is also foundational to cognition.
Mindfulness training also aids in self-regulation and emotional control. Emotional control is what people use to moderate their thoughts, actions and emotions in response to experiences. Self-regulation is being mindful of one’s feelings and knowing one can control one’s emotions and reactions so that they add to one’s well being. Mindfulness helps people realise they can choose where to put their attention and how to react, thus giving them control in what seems like uncontrollable situations.
Children’s brains are not fully developed until age twenty-five, and the prefrontal cortex, where higher-order thinking skills, judgment, and executive functioning occur, is the last part of the brain to develop. Since students brains are not fully formed to make strong executive decisions, it is even more critical that educators provide them with tools to increase their emotional awareness, their ability to slow down their thought processes, and their ability to consider effective choices. Mindfulness can help students step back and examine their automatic responses to situations.
A positive self-concept is an individual’s judgement of his or her own self-worth. Mindfulness has been shown to benefit overall well-being and positive self-concept. Students self-concept matters, as it affects a number of essential traits, such as self-efficacy, motivation, and confidence. Self-concept also greatly affects how students present themselves, how they interpret their successes or failures, and which aspects of themselves they value.
Positive interactions mean having connections and closeness in relationships, which is important for an individual’s well-being. An essential part of socialising is empathising with other humans. Strong social and emotional skills are essential for being a good student, friend, and family member, and can help students succeed in college and in their careers. Mindfulness training can provide students with tools for developing and fine-tuning their interactions with others.