Archive

Category Archives for "Benefits of Practice"

How Mindfulness Helps

An excerpt from Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids and Teens by Sherri Gordon

The practice of being mindful allows children and teens to cope with frustration when they are faced with something difficult in their lives. It can also be used when they need to focus their attention on something specific and not allow distractions to derail them. The more kids and teens practice being mindful, the better they get at it.

Plus, it really works. In fact, research shows that practicing mindfulness can improve attention spans for just about anyone—including young people with ADHD who often have trouble paying attention. Overall, people who learn to practice mindfulness are able to pay attention better and are less distractible. Mindfulness also helps individuals stay calm under stress, avoid getting too upset, get along better with others, and be more patient. It can even impact learning, help kids and teens become better listeners, and help them feel happier overall.

Childhood and adolescence are important stages in the developmental process for young people. What happens during these phases of their lives will lay the foundation for their their future mental health.

Mindfulness helps students learn how to pause in all types of situations and respond in a thoughtful way rather than just reacting. This skill is especially helpful when they are faced with challenges or encounter kids who engage in bullying.

Not surprisingly, practicing mindfulness can help kids and teens learn how to manage stress, regulate their emotions, focus on the task at hand, and develop a positive outlook on life.

Kids and teens who use mindfulness also develop a better understanding of how their brains work. They may even develop a sense of curiosity about how their minds work and why they feel the way they feel, which in the end may lead to a deeper understanding of who they are as a person. Research has shown that when mindfulness is used in schools it can provide a range of cognitive, emotional, and social benefits.

Cognitive Benefits

Research has shown that teaching kids mindfulness can impact their cognitive skills, particularly the executive functions performed by the brain. Executive functions are responsible for a person's ability to pay attention, switch focus, organize information, remember details, and engage in planning.

In fact, one study of third-grade students over a period of eight weeks found that when a mindfulness program was implemented in the school, the students showed improvements in regulating their behaviors and focusing on the task at hand when compared to a control group that did not participate in a mindfulness program.

Meanwhile, another study found that students participating in a 24-week mindfulness program scored better on attention-based activities than other students in their elementary school. Likewise, a study of preschoolers found that students with a mindfulness curriculum scored better on academic performance tests. They also showed greater improvement in areas that predict future academic success.

Emotional Benefits

Emotional health, or a positive sense of well-being, is an important component of every child's life. Not only is it the basis for mental health, but it also can help deter mental health issues like:
Anxiety
Stress
Depression
Self-esteem issues
Improved social interactions
Overall, being mindful or participating in mindfulness activities can not only help students manage stress but also increase their sense of well-being. For instance, one study found that after participating in a mindfulness program students were more likely to report feeling optimistic. Meanwhile, another study found that preteens reported feeling calmer, getting better sleep, and having an enhanced sense of well-being after participating in a five-week mindfulness and stress-reduction program.

Social Benefits

Difficulty interacting and communicating with others can lead to problems with learning, understanding, and school climate. But mindfulness programs have been shown to improve these skills and lead to positive results within the school.

For instance, a five-week mindfulness program in an elementary school led to better participation in classroom activities. Meanwhile, a mindfulness program in a high school helped nurture mutual respect and care among students and improve school climate.

Full Article:


Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids and Teens


 BY Sherri Gordon


Gordon, Sherri. “How Kids and Teens Can Benefit From Mindfulness.” Verywell Family, 17 Sept. 2020, www.verywellfamily.com/benefits-of-mindfulness-for-kids-4769017.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

As adults, it is easy to overlook the stressors that kids go through. Giving them a healthy outlet such as mindfulness can help lead them to a better path and be able to regulate the strong emotions that come along with navigating the world. 

Top 10 Benefits of Mindfulness for Teachers

An excerpt from Top 10 Benefits of Mindfulness for Teachers by Jill Manly

Improve Your Sleep

If I had a poor night’s sleep before a teaching day, I knew I was headed for trouble. I’d slap a smile on my face, chug a coffee, and try my best to lead the class. Yet, my patience was always thinner, my smile strained. Worst of all, my students would see right through me.

Teaching requires peak energy levels and patience. Yet, it’s easy for teachers to lose sleep. They often lie awake, ruminating over a child who has been bullied or reviewing how to lead a lesson more effectively.

Reduce Your Stress

Teaching is one of the most stressful professions, no question. An analysis by the National Foundation for Educational Research revealed that “one in five teachers (20 percent) feel tense about their job most or all of the time, compared to 13 percent of similar professionals.” Even more, The American Federation of Teachers found that “78% of teachers reported feeling physically and emotionally exhausted at the end of the day.”

The antidote? Mindfulness. A Harvard study compared the stress levels of people who went on vacation with those who began a meditation practice. While both groups initially showed improvements in stress, the meditators still showed improvements 10 months later while the vacationers’ stress levels had returned to baseline. Remember that mindcation idea? Well, it turns out that using mindfulness to take a mindcation has longer lasting effects on stress than an actual vacation.

Increase Your Focus

Teaching demands a high level of focus while multitasking. You might find yourself simultaneously teaching a math lesson, soothing an overwhelmed student, and redirecting off-task students. Data from busyteacher.org estimates that “teachers make about 1,500 educational decisions a day or about four decisions per minute based on 6 hours of instruction.”

Unfortunately, multitasking diminishes one’s ability to focus. Research shows that “productivity can be reduced by as much as 40% by the mental blocks created when people switch tasks.”

Teachers, all is not lost. Multitasking comes with the job, but you can practice mindfulness to increase your focus. Mindfulness meditation training improves executive attention and cognitive flexibility.

Maintain Healthier Relationships

While teachers love supporting their students, it’s easy to feel drained. Imagine you’re comforting the fifth child who has come to you in tears that day. Before you know it, you feel overwhelmed and impatient. The well of compassion you started your day with dwindles with each new upset.

Lucky for you, mindfulness increases one’s emotional-regulation skills. When you can regulate your own emotions, you can better support the emotions of others. Even more, mindfulness promotes forgiveness during conflicts due to a decrease in rumination and an increase in perspective-taking.

Gain Strong Communication Skills

Effective teacher communication plays a critical role in the wellness of teachers, students, and parents.


Teachers, here’s how you can bring mindfulness into your conversations:


- Be fully present

- Listen actively

- Slow down to process what’s said

- Reflect – what feelings exist behind the person’s words? What emotions come up for you as the listener?

- Ponder how to thoughtfully respond, rather than impulsively react

Practice the mindfulness skill of nonjudgmental acceptance to be responsive to students instead of reactive. This helps you focus on how someone is, instead of how you want or expect them to be.


You might expect your students to be perfectly respectful and focused on your lesson. The reality? Not so much. Often, negative emotions arise when something or someone does not meet our expectations. We judge the situation and therefore make it worse for ourselves.


By practicing nonjudgmental acceptance, we take the emotional reaction out of the situation. We simply notice what is and thoughtfully choose our response.


Increase Your Productivity

Does this sound familiar? You spend your recess breaks scarfing down a snack, fleeing to the bathroom, or talking with a student. You spend lunch prepping materials for the upcoming science lesson. You cram the overflow of work into breaks, evenings, and weekends. I felt this way, too. Let me tell you, it wasn’t sustainable. When I discovered mindfulness, I learned how to increase my productivity by working smarter, not harder.

A study on mindfulness intervention and workplace productivity showed that mindfulness produced “greater reductions in burnout and perceived stress, improvements in well-being, and increases in team and organizational climate and personal performance.”

Achieve Greater Happiness

Teachers support their students through all of life’s challenges; they are often the first-responders to students’ pain. While being there for children is a true privilege, it can take a toll on teachers’ happiness. Research shows that “educators and other school-based staff can experience the stress of compassion fatigue and/or vicarious traumatization.”

Enhance Your Memory

Teachers, you are experts in the subjects you teach. You want your memory to be in tip-top shape, right?

Mindfulness meditation can boost one’s memory. It also enhances episodic memory, or memory of a previous experience. Mindfulness training increases attention on a moment-to-moment basis, so people practicing mindfulness experience greater task engagement which makes experiences more memorable. Mindfulness training can even decrease mind-wandering and improve GRE test scores.

Boost Your Immunity

Every teacher knows the threat of germs well. Now, add on to that a global pandemic. Yikes.

Fortunately, a study proved that “a short program in mindfulness meditation produces significant effects on immune function.”

Wear a mask? Check. Meditate? Check!

Optimize Your Brain

A teacher’s brain not only houses in-depth knowledge, but it responds to frequent emotional stressors. How do you keep your brain in peak condition to master these demands? Mindfulness, of course.

One study had individuals facing high levels of stress participate in 8 weeks of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. MRI scans showed a decrease in gray matter density within the right amygdala of participants (the part of the brain associated with fear).

Another study found that meditators had thicker prefrontal cortexes, the part of the brain associated with decision-making, situational awareness, and focus.

Full Article:


Top 10 Benefits of Mindfulness for Teachers


 BY JILL MANLY


Manly, Jill. “Top 10 Benefits of Mindfulness for Teachers.” JabuMind, 24 Mar. 2021, jabumind.com/top-10-benefits-of-mindfulness-for-teachers/.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

With this week being Teacher Appreciation Week, we have been reminded of all of the hard work that teachers do. With an occupation that requires you to give up so much of yourself to help others, it is important to take time for self care and self reflection.  

8 Life-Changing Benefits for Brain and Behavior

An excerpt from Mindfulness with Kids: 8 Life-Changing Benefits for Brain and Behavior by Angela Pruess

Anxiety or not, mindfulness will improve the behavior and emotional well-being of all kids.

The research is so powerful and indicative that large institutions and businesses are starting to take action. Top corporations are hosting mindfulness training’s and schools all around the world have initiated programs to get mindfulness activities for kids into schools.

Here’s the kicker, the power of mindfulness with kids is even greater because their brains and bodies are still under development!

Here are just a few amazing ways mindfulness will improve a child’s behavior and emotional well-being.

Strengthens self-control

The goal of mindfulness is to intentionally focus your attention on the body and the breath, but because of the way we’re wired, we naturally get distracted often (aka monkey mind).

The ‘magic moment’ in mindfulness is the term used for the moment we realize we’ve lost focus (and likely started thinking about what we’ll eat for lunch or if our friend is mad at us) and intentionally bring our focus back to our body.


When your child practices consciously shifting their attention it is the equivalent of their brains self-control muscles lifting weights.

They are literally reinforcing and strengthening the neuropathways that underlie focus and self-control.

Lower’s anxiety and stress

Sadly, in today’s world, rates of anxiety in children are skyrocketing. Kids are more stressed than they’ve ever been due to fast-paced schedules, academic pressures and less time spent in play and outdoors.

When a child experiences anxiety, it activates the bodies protective stress response kicking the ‘fight or flight’ response into motion.

Mindfulness exercises are an extremely effective way to stop the anxiety symptoms in children that result (stomach aches, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat ect) and re-regulate blood pressure, breathing and heart rate.

Even better? Practicing mindfulness consistently is one of the best ways to lower a child’s anxiety by keeping your child’s baseline stress level down.

Increases positive moods

Inherent to the practice of mindfulness is an acceptance of the present moment, just as is. Much of the anxiety and depression we experience as humans stems from the avoidance and resistance of our felt emotions.

It’s easy to discourage your child from expressing their intense feelings (because it’s uncomfortable!) but this is the most common mistake in raising an emotionally intelligent child.


Feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant are universal and the sign of an emotionally healthy human being! Mindfulness activities teach your child to accept their emotions and experiences in the moment, without critical or negative judgment, allowing them the space to be acknowledged, felt, and as a result, worked through.

Better decision making

The heart of mindfulness is bringing our awareness to the present moment. Studies have shown that adults who practiced only 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation were able to make faster and better decisions because of a decreased tendency to get stuck in past narratives (holding you back from deciding) or project into the future.

Improves Emotional Regulation Skills

Want to increase the odds your child can keep their cool when they miss that soccer goal? The ability to regulate emotions means we can effectively manage our moods and upsets in a healthy and productive way.

Research shows that mindfulness changes the brain regions (in both structure and in function) in the areas responsible for a child’s emotional regulation skills.

Increases self-esteem

Many kids struggle with a negative self-image and are overly hard on themselves. A review of 17 studies showed mindfulness-based interventions significantly raised self-esteem due to the emphasis of self-acceptance and self-compassion.

Improves Health and Body Image

Mindfulness practice has been found to not only improve physical health but also promotes a positive body image. Studies have shown that mindfulness-based interventions can help positively impact our hearts, brains, immune systems, and more!

Improves social skills and communication

While the kids are outside playing you hear shrieks coming from the garage and go to investigate. “She won’t listen to my ideas!” “He always wants to do it his way!”

Mindfulness exercises will help your child get it better touch with their thoughts and feelings. With increased awareness of how they’re feeling in the moment, comes less emotional reactivity and a greater ability to listen and communicate more thoughtfully and effectively.

Full Article:


Mindfulness with Kids: 8 Life-Changing Benefits for Brain and Behavior


 BY Angela Pruess


Pruess, Angela. “Mindfulness with Kids: 8 Life-Changing Benefits for Brain and Behavior.” Parents With Confidence, 18 Nov. 2020, parentswithconfidence.com/mindfulness-with-kids/.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

Children are complex, and in a serious developmental stage of their lives. The strategies we give them now can set the course of the rest of their adulthood, so it is important that we give them the tools they need to regulate themselves to boost their self-confidence and lower their anxieties.

Five Science-Backed Reasons Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health

An excerpt from Five Science-Backed Reasons Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health

Ask a group of people why they meditate and you’ll get a list of replies as varied as the people you’re asking—generally, the reason will have something to do with each individuals’ idea of the best, most-fulfilled (dare we say happier) version of themselves.

In recent decades, researchers have been gaining insight into the benefits of practicing this ancient tradition. By studying more secular versions of mindfulness meditation, they’ve found that learning to pay attention to our current experiences and accept them without judgment might indeed help us to be happier. Studies to date suggest that mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being—improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout.

But does mindfulness affect our bodies as well as our minds?

Recently, researchers have been exploring this question—with some surprising results. While much of the early research on mindfulness relied on pilot studies with biased measures or limited groups of participants, more recent studies have been using less-biased physiological markers and randomly controlled experiments to get at the answer. Taken together, the studies suggest that mindfulness may impact our hearts, brains, immune systems, and more.

Though nothing suggests mindfulness is a standalone treatment for disease nor the most important ingredient for a healthy life, here are some of the ways that it appears to benefit us physically.

Mindfulness is good for our hearts

Those who learned mindfulness had significantly greater reductions in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure than those who learned progressive muscle relaxation, suggesting that mindfulness could help people at risk for heart disease by bringing blood pressure down.

Mindfulness may decrease cognitive decline from aging or Alzheimer’s

In a 2016 study, people with Alzheimer’s disease engaged in either mindfulness meditation, cognitive stimulation therapy, relaxation training, or no treatment, and were given cognitive tests over two years. While cognitive stimulation and relaxation training seemed to be somewhat beneficial in comparison to no treatment, the mindfulness training group had much more robust improvements on cognitive scores than any other group.

Mindfulness may improve your immune response

When we encounter viruses and other disease-causing organisms, our bodies send out troops of immune cells that circulate in the blood. These cells, including pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins, neutrophils, T-cells, immunoglobulins, and natural killer cells, help us to fight disease and infection in various ways. Mindfulness, it turns out, may affect these disease-fighting cells.

In several studies, mindfulness meditation appeared to increase levels of T-cells or T-cell activity in patients with HIV or breast cancer. This suggests that mindfulness could play a role in fighting cancer and other diseases that call upon immune cells. Indeed, in people suffering from cancer, mindfulness appears to improve a variety of biomarkers that might indicate progression of the disease.

Mindfulness may reduce cell aging

Cell aging occurs naturally as cells repeatedly divide over the lifespan and can also be increased by disease or stress. Proteins called telomeres, which are found at the end of chromosomes and serve to protect them from aging, seem to be impacted by mindfulness meditation.

Studies suggest that long-time meditators may have greater telomere lengths. In one experimental study, researchers found that breast cancer survivors who went through MBSR preserved the length of their telomeres better than those who were on a waitlist. However, this study also found that general supportive therapies impacted telomere length; so, there may not be something special about MBSR that impacts cell aging.

Mindfulness may help reduce psychological pain

Of course, while the above physiological benefits of mindfulness are compelling, we needn’t forget that mindfulness also impacts our psychological well-being, which, in turn, affects physical health. In fact, it’s quite likely that these changes have synergistic effects on one another.

First of all, a great deal of research suggests that mindfulness can help healthy people reduce their stress. And thanks to Jon-Kabat Zinn’s pioneering MBSR program, there’s now a large body of research showing that mindfulness can help people cope with the pain, anxiety, depression, and stress that might accompany illness, especially chronic conditions.

Full Article:


Five Science-Backed Reasons Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health


 BY JILL SUTTIE


Suttie, Jill. “Five Science-Backed Reasons Mindfulness Meditation Is Good for Your Health.” Mindful, 19 Aug. 2020, www.mindful.org/five-ways-mindfulness-meditation-is-good-for-your-health/.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I chose this article because although mindfulness may not be a cure for all medical issues, I think it is a wonderful and free tool to have in your toolbelt, and it is amazing to hear of some of the benefits. 

The Benefits of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Gratitude

In her talk she refers to some things that she has experienced throughout her life. She uses props to prove her point and shares many benefits of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Gratitude.

Gracyn is originally from South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Before moving here she lived in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. She speaks a small amount of Spanish. It is her 4th year in Saudi, and she has been attending AISR since grade two. Gracyn is now in grade five and she is eleven years old. She has a younger sister, Carys, in grade three. Her favourite subjects are, performing arts, art, and reading. Gracyn loves horseback riding with her family. That is where she got the idea of gratitude. Gracyn is very excited and can not believe that she is a part of the Tedx 2019. Gracyn is originally from South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Before moving here she lived in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. She speaks some Spanish thanks to that experience. It is her 4th year in Saudi Arabia, and she has been attending AIS-R since grade two. Gracyn is now in grade five and she is eleven years old. She has a younger sister, Carys, in grade three. Her favourite subjects are, Performing Arts, Art, and Reading. Gracyn loves horseback riding with her family. That is where she got the idea of gratitude. Gracyn is very excited and cannot believe that she is a part of the TEDx@AIS-R event of 2019. In her talk she refers to some things that she has experienced throughout her life. She uses personal examples and some props to illustrate her ideas about the many benefits of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Gratitude. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I chose this video because I love hearing directly from children about their experiences navigating a new world and am inspired by the ways they choose to cope with feelings and ideas that seem foreign and new to them.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

An excerpt from Why Mindfulness is Needed in Education by MindfulSchools.org​​

Solid scientific evidence shows that mindfulness practice improves attention, self-control, emotional resilience, recovery from addiction, memory, immune response, and more. This summarizes benefits that are particularly relevant to educators; these are fundamental human abilities that when fostered through mindfulness practice will contribute to greater well-being in our school communities.

Manage Stress & Anxiety

Mindfulness practice helps educators notice the impact of toxic stress and anxiety and develop the skills to more effectively transform stressful situations.


Strengthen Cognitive Health & Attention

Mindfulness contributes to greater clarity in executive choice, decision-making, and healthy cognitive functioning. It strengthens our “mental muscle” for bringing focus back where we want it, when we want it.


Model Compassion & Kindness

As an educator’s mindfulness practice deepens, they develop a stronger capacity for self-care and self-compassion and ability to nurture, comfort, and heal themselves, students, and others.

Cultivate Awareness & Balance

Mindfulness gives us the skills to be present with our emotions, especially the difficult ones. Mindfulness practice can help reduce their intensity and impact on us and allows for new possibilities and patterns.


Foster Empathy & Connection

Mindfulness practice is a powerful way to develop a deeper sense of connection with both ourselves and others. Building our capacity for empathy supports us in effective communication, collaboration and leadership.


Grow Resilience

Mindfulness equips educators with resources like patience, flexibility, and equanimity, helping them to cope with adversity. Cultivating positive states – calm, relaxation, and peace – builds our inner strength to take on the daily challenges in schools.


 ​

Full Article:


Why is Mindfulness Needed in Education?


 BY MINDFULSCHOOLS.ORG


Schools, Mindful. “Why Is Mindfulness Needed in Education?” Mindful Schools, 1 Aug. 2020, www.mindfulschools.org/about-mindfulness/why-is-mindfulness-needed-in-education/.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[EMILY]

I chose this article because I like the fact that it is specifically focused towards educators, substitute or otherwise. Being able to connect with yourself is an important skill that will help create a balanced environment for those around you.

How Mindfulness Helps Students in Brooklyn School Cope With Pandemic And Social Justice Issues

An article from Byklyner. by Meghan Leborious

Students may be drawn first to the calming impacts of mindfulness, but mindfulness can also be seen as empowerment – a way to eliminate the internal obstacles that stop them from stepping fully into their power, dignity, and creativity – essential tools on the path to racial justice, and essential tools on the path to real freedom and equality.

Over the four years since I started a mindfulness program at Cobble Hill High School in Brooklyn where I teach, I’ve watched student after student find their power by turning inside, where it was waiting all along. In the process, students learn to be strong advocates for themselves and for their communities.

During the Spring 2020 semester, more than one student wrote, Mindfulness doesn’t mean you always have to be peaceful.

Unite NY Rally on Juneteenth 2020. Adrian Childress/Bklyner

Several students shared how mindfulness has helped them cope with the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others, and also with the ongoing pandemic.

“What stood out was how much more this was affecting me than I realized, until I actually sat and broke down what I was really scared and worried about,” shared one student. Another wrote, “You have the right to be completely angry or sad, but mindfulness helps you break away and meditate to calm down.”

Students had a full semester of mindfulness before the pandemic, but I had no idea how it would play out once they were in remote learning and almost totally on their own. We started using a popular mindfulness app to support us, and many students dove deep, some understanding the benefits of mindfulness for the first time. One student shared that while every member of his household was sick with COVID, he would practice daily on his balcony to stay sane.

Teachers have been independently bringing mindfulness to NYC students for twenty years or more, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the New York City Department of Education placed their official stamp of approval on mindfulness instruction as a valid option for meeting the social and emotional needs of students, appointing Barnaby Spring as the first-ever Director of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness in Schools for Student Wellness & Equity


Mindfulness is learning to pay attention in a certain way. In the words of mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat Zinn, “Mindfulness meditation is the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Mindfulness training involves choosing a focus such as the breath, then calmly noticing whenever the attention shifts, and gently returning it. In this way, students build up the ability to concentrate and remain present with their experiences. 


Mindfulness instruction has implications for helping students develop healthy relationships, resilience, empathy, motivation, the ability to make responsible decisions, and the ability to effectively regulate emotions.


These are important benefits for all students, but may be particularly important for students of color. Resulting from centuries of oppression, Black and Brown students disproportionately suffer from poverty and loss. Having to cope with racism on a daily basis also takes its toll.  According to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience mental health problems than White Americans. In addition, there are multiple barriers for Black and Brown people when it comes to receiving adequate mental health services despite the likely added stressors that many face. 

“Mindfulness supports students in confronting internalized stereotypes and processing painful experiences when they have been marginalized, judged, or accused.”

Mindfulness training in schools can help to fill this urgent gap.

Mindfulness supports students in confronting internalized stereotypes and processing painful experiences when they have been marginalized, judged, or accused. In the words of a 9th grade student, “Mindfulness is beneficial because it relieves stress and anxiety and lowers chaos in your emotions.”

Dr. Donald Fennoy, superintendent of schools in Palm Beach County, Florida, created a division for Student Wellness & Equity after the start of the protests following the murder of George Floyd.

Fennoy is not the only school leader to connect wellness and equity.

In a 2019 interview, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stated, 

“We put a greater level of emphasis on the academic stability of a child, and not the emotional stability, and that’s a big mistake.”

Adams, himself a disciplined meditation practitioner, argued that teaching students mindfulness, a priority for Brooklyn schools, allows students to “become their own healers,” and begin to address PTSD, grief, the impacts of racism, and the stressors of daily life.

“The overwhelming number of our million plus children are living with trauma every day. We have become extremely successful at masking trauma and normalizing it. It’s not a black eye, it’s not a broken arm,” Adams shared. Rather, trauma and PTSD are internal, invisible injuries.

I asked, “Do you think that students of color might stand to benefit in particular from mindfulness because of the added burden of having to deal with racism?”

Adams responded, “The first step forward is to acknowledge the fact that we treat people differently based on how we see them because of our predispositions. Black and Brown students are dealing with an obstacle that’s larger than their White counterparts. And acknowledging that doesn’t mean their White counterparts are racist, it just acknowledges the fact that we come from a country with a history.”

Studies published between 2009-2020 in Psychological Bulletin, School Psychology Quarterly, and other journals indicate that students who receive mindfulness instruction tend to have better focus, more ability to self-regulate, less stress, healthier relationships, and less incidents that lead to disciplinary consequences, which is of particular significance since Black and Brown students tend to receive harsher punishments both in schools and the judicial system.

Unite NY Rally. Adrian Childress/Bklyner

Mindfulness Helps In Teaching, Too


Mindfulness can also positively impact the adults in school communities.

The first layer of mindfulness, decreased stress and improved mood, can support teachers in meeting students with patience and understanding.

Another layer, when practitioners naturally begin to examine the workings of their minds, has other implications. Practitioners begin to note self-talk and repetitive thoughts, to monitor the body’s feedback, and to examine underlying stories. For many, this leads to a decrease in the impacts of implicit bias.

Committed mindfulness practice leads to a key insight: that we are profoundly interconnected. The small-minded categories and distinctions we make crumble when subject to intense scrutiny. This realization leads to increased empathy and the knowledge that injustice anywhere affects every one of us – a counteragent to individual racism that can lead to systemic impacts.

In addition, when school leaders and teachers develop the ability to stay present with discomfort, a key component of mindfulness training, it may be easier to ponder difficult personal and systemic questions, and lead to greater transparency and accountability – important attributes for systems that are working toward anti-racist goals.

No one knows what the coming school year will look like, but even in the best case scenario, we will have to cope with stress, uncertainty, and powerful emotions. Mindfulness is an important ally as we weather these storms, and work toward a brighter future.

Full Article:


How Mindfulness Helps Students in Brooklyn School Cope With Pandemic And Social Justice Issues


 BY MEGHAN LEBORIOUS


Leborious, Meghan. “How Mindfulness Helps Students in Brooklyn School Cope With Pandemic And Social Justice Issues.” BKLYNER, 16 Sept. 2020, bklyner.com/p-s-139-shuts-down-for-24-hours-after-second-confirmed-coronavirus-case/.

President

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I love that this article starts off acknowledging that a mindfulness practice is empowering. My practice has enabled me to become more clear in many aspects of life, relationships and issues, both small and big. It has been the best preparation I can prioritize to be more aware of and engaged in what social issues entail in our world. I think everyone can use tools that lead to more clarity and understanding as we look to create change in a noble way.

7 Shocking Benefits of Daily Meditation

Today we explore 7 shocking benefits of daily meditation. If you want to know how to meditate for beginners and how this can have a positive impact on your life, this video is for you!

Music: "Cute" and "Ukulele" from Bensound.com

Thanks to the rest of the TopThink team who worked on this video, including Tristan Reed (Writing), Troy W. Hudson (Voice), and Plamen (Animation).

For a full list of sources, see TopThink's youtube channel.

Reed, Tristan. 7 Shocking Benefits of Daily Meditation, TopThink, 2019, www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0-VmFNXmwI.

President

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[Rachel]

I appreciate this video because every point that is made, I have experienced first-hand. My practice has transformed every part of my life … and it’s always fun to hear some research too!

Benefits of Mindfulness

In this animated video, Psych2go explains the benefits of mindfulness in schools. 

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. Mindfulness is a type of meditation, useful in achieving the here and now. In this video, we talk about the many benefits of mindfulness, especially in school settings. 

Torres, Paul-Daniel. “Benefits of Mindfulness.” Youtube.com, Psych2Go, 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iUsKvGRYRo.

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I chose this video because it shows why mindfulness is important and how it can be incorporated into modern day education, all with fun visuals.

How Mindfulness Transforms Us

Jo speaks to everyday problems and how difficult it is to be happy - "Considering that everything dies, leaves or disappears".

Come on a short journey to experience self-awareness and understand how powerful the practice of meditation can be to live a healthy/happy life. Jo Pang is on a mission of mindfulness. As an expert at Slalom Consulting, Jo transforms organizations with an integrative, human-centered approach. As a teacher, he helps people consciously cultivate the seeds of compassion, wisdom and happiness. As a person, he shares thoughts on self-awareness, self-acceptance and finding contentment in finding ourselves. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Marketing and Design Coordinator

Rachel Wixey & Associates

[emily]

I chose this video because it contains a short practice and asks you to reflect on yourself. He also uses great analogies that bring everything into perspective.

1 2 3
>