MINDFULNESS MATTERS

Basics, Benefits, and Beyond

BASICS

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a practice of awareness and observation.   It is paying attention to the present moment, with intention, in a non-judgmental way.

This simple practice gives us the ability to respond, rather than impulsively react to any event or circumstance in our lives. With a better understanding of the inner workings of our mind and emotions, we learn to make decisions from a place of strength, wisdom, and compassion. As these “mindful moments” add up, they allow us to feel a greater sense of peace in our daily lives and help us connect with ourselves and others in a more positive way.

Mindfulness creates a PAUSE or space, thus allowing us to change impulsive reactions to thoughtful responses.

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Benefits of Mindfulness

Why Mindfulness in our Schools?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is recognized as a critical component of student success, both for its intrinsic value and for its relationship to student academic success. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) lists the following five competencies as social-emotional learning competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making.

Mindfulness practices contribute directly to building three of these foundational competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, and Responsible Decision-Making.  Mindfulness teaches students to have greater self-awareness of their minds, which in turn impacts a student’s ability to recognize how their thoughts and emotions influence their actions and behaviors.  This increased self-awareness, along with the core focusing and attention building tools mindfulness provides, empowers students with an increased ability to regulate one’s emotions, resulting in students who feel more resilient, and can make better decisions when faced with stress, overwhelm, and other challenging emotions.

Here are some Benefits of Incorporating Mindfulness in the Classroom

The ten major areas in which studies have shown mindfulness can have a positive impact include:

  • Attention and focus
  • Better grades
  • More effective emotion regulation
  • Better behavior in school
  • Greater empathy and perspective-taking
  • Better social skills
  • Reduced test anxiety
  • Less stress
  • Decreased frequency/severity of posttraumatic symptoms
  • Lower rates/severity of depression

These findings are indeed backed up by research; a 2015 study on mindfulness education in schools found that:

  1. Mindfulness helps students and staff manage their stress more effectively and work through it more quickly.
  2. Frequent mindfulness practice—even micro-sessions of a few minutes or less—imparts health benefits.
  3. Research suggests that mindfulness programs can improve cognitive performance as well as resilience to stress.
  4. Mindfulness programs are easily developed and adapted for specific ages and contexts.
  5. It is relatively easy to incorporate mindfulness into schools, provided there is sensitivity to the developmental stages and needs of the students

In addition, it is found that mindfulness has proven to help children, adolescents, and adults with:

  • Reducing their anxiety.
  • Helping them reduce and/or manage their stress.
  • Improving their attention and ability to focus.
  • Managing their emotional reactivity.
  • Increasing their self-awareness and self-regulation.
  • Helping them find peace.
  • Encouraging their ability to calm themselves and regulate their emotions.
  • Improving their executive function and higher-order abilities (i.e., planning, strategic thinking).
  • Decreasing their test anxiety through enhancing memory and concentration, and reducing mind-wandering/daydreaming.
  • Mitigating or reducing ADHD symptoms.

BEYOND the Basics and Benefits of Mindfulness

Inspiring Joy, Freedom & Self-Care

Social and emotional learning (SEL) has increasingly been recognized as a critical component of student success, both for its intrinsic value and for its relationship to student academic success. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) lists the following five learning competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making.

Figure from: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): The Future of Education. PowerPoint presentation by Mary Utne O’Brien, PhD, Vice President, CASEL Research Professor, Psychology & Education, the University of Illinois at Chicago. February 4, 2013. Accessible at www.casel.org.

MORE RESEARCH

In 2018, Harvard Gazzette shared a study performed by Harvard University on Mindfulness and Meditation studies has shown benefits against an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

You don’t need stats to back up what a lot of us are feeling—stress and anxiety are on the rise across all ages and all kinds of people. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults every year in the U.S., and according to mental health surveys, today’s students from elementary age to college are the most anxious ever. An article by the National Education Association says with the pressures to fit in, excel academically, and engage in social media, anxiety is at an epidemic level.

As grown-ups, we all suffer from stress at one point or another, but do your children?   Science says yes.

According to the American Psychological Association, about 30% of children report worrying a great deal. Unfortunately, parents greatly underestimate their child’s emotions. Only 3% of parents rate their child’s stress as extreme, and while 33% of kids experienced headaches in the month prior to school starting, just 13% of parents thought these headaches were stress-related.

Mindfulness Program at John Hopkins

UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center

In 2012, National Institue for Health claims MINDFULNESS MATTERS

Mindfulness benefits Mental Health, Physical Health, and Emotional Health.

 

MINDFULNESS Program Menu

Educators and Parents

    • Workshops - Introduction to Mindfulness
      • Length of training - Options include 1-3 hours, Half-day, Full-day
    • Classes - Foundations of Mindfulness Practice - 6 - 12 classes
      • Length of training - Options include 45-mins., 90-mins.
    • Workshop Series TEACHERS TOOLBOX Mindfulness in the Classroom
      • Length of training - Options include 1-2 hours or Half-day

Students - Elementary

  • Mindfulness Assembly - All school, Half school, or grade-specific, builds community & introduction
  • Mindfulness Foundation Series - 16 weeks, 16 lessons, 30-45 mins., 1x/week
  • Mindfulness Review Workshop -  45 min. workshop summarizing and reinforcing practices
  • Student Mindfulness Club -  Student lead and teacher sponsored mindfulness sharing and practice time

Students - Middle and High School

  • Mindfulness Assembly - All school, Half school, or grade-specific, builds community and introduction
  • Mindfulness Foundation Series - 12-weeks, 12 lessons, 30-45 mins., 1x/week
  • Mindfulness Review Workshop -  45 min. workshop summarizing and reinforcing practices
  • Student Mindfulness Club - Student lead and teacher sponsored mindfulness sharing and practice time

College

  • Mindfulness Assembly - All school, Students, Staff, or Faculty
  • Mindfulness Foundation Series - 16 weeks, 16 lessons, 30-45 mins., 1x/week
  • Mindfulness Review Workshop -  45 min. workshop summarizing and reinforcing practices
  • Student Mindfulness Club - Student lead mindfulness sharing and practice time

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