Students face a variety of academic stress, and often other pressures outside of school that may translate into their academic performance, and have the possibility of affecting their overall happiness as well. Learning mindfulness may provide these students with a way of coping with this stress, and allow them to stay more focused in school and outside of school. Many schools are now discovering that a daily dose of silent reflection can both calm students and improve their academic performance.
1. Mindfulness improves the well being of young people
Mindfulness has the power to improve the mental, emotional, social and physical health of young people. Neuroscientists have actually found that long-term practice of mindfulness alters the structure and function of the brain, and improves the quality of both thought and feeling. Since young people’s brains are especially responsive to change with experience, the long-term effects of meditation are more likely to be beneficial in school students than in adults. Adopting mindfulness practices young are extremely beneficial in the long run. Giving students a time when all they have to do is stop, be calm and listen each day, will undoubtedly give them a variety of benefits that will last them well out of primary school.
2. It increases positivity and emotional intelligence
Mindfulness and meditation is about gaining control of your negative thoughts and emotions about the past or the future, and focusing on the present. Having this skill is important for students because it helps them cope with academic stress, and it also enables them to deal with the pressures of growing up outside of school. Mindfulness has also been proven to improve one’s emotional intelligence. As kids are surrounded by their peers all day long, having this ability to understand their own feelings, as well as the feelings of others will allow them to better communicate with both their peers and adults for years to come.
3. It can be adapted for outside of school
Students will learn that what happens in school may also be taken home with them, because as kids gain knowledge in school they often go home and tell their parents about it. Learning mindfulness in school may encourage kids to begin to practice mindfulness in everyday life outside of school, and maybe even teach their parents about it! Practicing mindfulness does not have to be limited to in-school only. It can be adapted to everyday at home activities. Kids can start focusing more while they eat, listen to music, or take long walks. All of these activities encourage mindfulness and can be practiced without meditation.
4. It is quick and easy to adopt
Starting a new habit may seem difficult at first, but when all it requires is that you stop and stay calm for 2 minutes each day, it is not that hard. Practicing mindfulness in the classroom is inviting students to stop what they are doing, close their eyes and recognise what is happening in their mind and body in the present moment, by focusing on their breath. Once they practice it more routinely, it will be easier. Schools can also introduce mindfulness into the broader school culture. This may include having a brief mindful moment before morning announcements or school assemblies, or even providing meditation and quiet spaces for staff and students.
5. It’s different than other classroom activities
School can be repetitive, as students learn the same concepts and know what a typical day will look like. Children often get bored of this repetition, which is why introducing mindfulness may inspire them to look forward to trying something new. Even if they don’t take a separate class on mindfulness, exposing them to mindfulness for a few minutes each day will enable them to learn new skills and participate in unconventional activities that are different from their day-to-day routine.
These are just a few of the many benefits that mindfulness can provide a school and its students, which is why schools should start adopting these principles of mindfulness into their everyday routine.