Mindfulness and Education Part Two

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Thanks in great part to research done by organizations like the Mindful Schools organization, there is more evidence than ever proving how mindfulness helps shape a child’s brain in positive ways. It helps them learn now, and live better and healthier lives later on.

Research findings include:

  • Teachers who practice mindfulness suffer less burnout. They demonstrate greater efficacy and have more engaged and mutually-supportive students.
  • Students who practice mindfulness have improved cognitive, social and emotional outcomes from their classroom experience, and they report overall improved well being.  
  • The area of the brain related to learning and memory, the hippocampus, also helps regulate strong emotions like fear and anger. Mindfulness practice helps increase activity in the hippocampus.
  • Following mindfulness practice, the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain most important for regulating emotions and making decisions, is more active.

Thriving Versus Getting By

Some may consider mindfulness to be a luxury. We disagree. There is overwhelming evidence that when we are more mindful, we suffer fewer mental health issues related to stress, we are more peaceful, and we are more likely to practice compassion toward others. And, in a world where our kids are bombarded with images and messages that are often designed to create anxiety and motivate unhealthy behavior, they need all the help they can get to maintain their emotional and mental well being.

Mindfulness as a Coping Mechanism

Without mindfulness practice, stress can lead children to:

  • Feel overwhelmed, like life is just too much for them to handle
  • Become compulsively busy to avoid dealing with stressful issues
  • Ruminate over the same stressful thoughts, creating anxiety
  • Disassociate from their own emotions when they don’t know how to cope
  • Lose empathy for others and focus on soothing their own egos as a coping mechanism.

When children, and adults for that matter, practice mindfulness they are more likely to:

  • Understand what is causing feelings of overwhelm or other difficult emotions, understand that they are only temporary, and respond to them positively.
  • Maintain calm and relaxed rather than engaging in compulsive behavior
  • Focus on the moment they are in rather than ruminating on past behaviors or “what-if” scenarios
  • Connect to their own emotions, recognize what they are feeling, and develop resilience
  • Develop and practice compassion for others, and become able to recognize the impact of their own behavior on others

Value-Based Independent Education

Mindfulness practice is in complete alignment with our value-based curriculum at Mizzentop Day School. Everything we teach from math to the arts includes elements of mindfulness. And, cultivation of self-awareness, emotional maturity, and compassion for others are cornerstones of our value system. We don’t think it is enough to prepare our students for academic success. Our goal is to give them a solid foundation for success, no matter what life may bring.   

If you would like to learn more, please give us a call and schedule a visit. We look forward to meeting you and your child.