June 24, 2023
How Mindfulness Exercises Can Be Integrated Into Educational Environments For Beneficial Purposes
What IS Mindfulness?
With the swarm of a global pandemic, quarantine, and an assortment of crises, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the madness of it all. So when looking for resources and methods to alleviate these tensions, mindfulness has gained some major popularity!
What is it exactly? In basic terms, Mindfulness is the human awareness and ability to be in the present moment. It encompasses a variety of thoughts, actions, and beliefs we ALL already possess, but take time and energy accessing. Mindfulness has been practiced since ancient times, but only studied within recent years.
Mindfulness is especially beneficial for those who experience tense emotions and detrimental thought cycles. Within recent years, mindfulness has been encouraged in the classroom for kids to help them retain education better.
DISCLAIMER: Mindfulness exercises are not a cure-all for deep rooted anxiety, depression, and trauma. It is a great outlet to incorporate with other methodologies, so please consult your doctor or a therapist when exploring Mindfulness for your needs.
Why You Should Get Into the RIGHT Headspace
Mindfulness-oriented practices have been proven beneficial for many fields and activities. In its entirety, mindfulness gets us to reflect and attune to our instincts, needs, and wants to uncover deeper rooted mental or emotional blockages.
More recently, there has been a movement to integrate Mindfulness exercises and values into school environments. This ensures kids not only will learn to strengthen their emotional & mental regulation skills, but succeed in their academic endeavors.
Here are a few of the infinite reasons why Mindfulness should be brought into education!
Increased Focus: Non-judgmental attentiveness, especially towards the present moment, increases awareness for what’s currently happening in the classroom. When focus is increased in school, the students will more likely retain the content being taught to them! This helps them build a deeper understanding for the material and its usage.
More Attentive To Details: The overall increase in focus will also heighten a student’s attention to detail. This can be especially beneficial for many school subjects that require critical thinking, like literature and math! Their connection to the present will open them up to make astute observations able to help me construct more effortlessly effective answers or understandings.
Confidence In Participation: If a student feels strong in their abilities, they’ll feel more inclined to voice their perspective in class! It’s quite common for them to get easily intimidated by their fear of failure or rejection for an incorrect answer, so bringing Mindfulness into their space will allow them to observe and focus in such a way that is more positive and doesn’t make them feel judged!
Growth Mindset: Mindfulness is being able to learn AND evolve from your current choices, behaviors, and beliefs. If you incorporate Mindfulness into the class, then the students will be able to attack their assignments with the knowledge that even if they don’t get it right the first time, the failure or setback still provides them with productive learning for future situations.
Problem Solving Skills: This particular trait requires patience, determination, and recollection of skills and knowledge to devise the best solution to a given problem. Mindfulness can alleviate some of that usual academic pressure that clouds our articulation of potential avenues of solution. Critical, divergent, and logical thinking skills can be strengthened when students are taught to identify their stresses and instead deal with them rather than suppress them and succumb to emotional problems.
Decreased Stress: Everybody can get worked up when something isn’t going flawlessly or even their way- which is okay and VERY human! Mindfulness really allows us to focus on our innate awareness and morph it into a purposeful power. When we allow ourselves to focus on what’s actually happening and not ruminate on the past or future hypotheticals, stress levels can decrease which also helps with anxiety!
Social AND Emotional Wellbeing: Mindfulness helps with emotional regulation, which kids don’t know how to do as well as full grown adults. If you start them young, they’ll be able to communicate more openly, build sustainable relationships, and do what’s best for themselves as well as others!
Academic Performance: All in all, the mental and emotional spaces students can reach with the help of Mindfulness will fortify their academic performance! They won’t relinquish their talent, attention, or patience to a projected frustration and be able to do what’s in front of them.
Mindfulness Ideas for Your Educative Space
Meditation: Mindfulness in itself is a form of meditation, but you can find all different kinds of meditative exercises to suit your needs! Full body scans, sensory meditations, and intuitive movement are just some examples of this practice.
Breathing Exercises: We take this involuntary action for granted on a daily basis, and can be quite a grounding resource! It helps us tune into our nervous systems when we use the breadth and timing of our breathing to bring our body back into a stable state.
Journaling: Being in the present is hard for some with ruminating thoughts or anxiety, so putting your thoughts and feelings OUTSIDE of yourself can be helpful! It’ll encourage students to be more expressive about what they’re experiencing which helps with emotional regulation and awareness.
Heartbeat Exercises: Just like breathing, our hearts provide us with an involuntary function that carries us through day-to-day life. When we experience stress or anxiety, our heart rates can accelerate causing us to feel frantic or unstable. If you tune into what’s occurring inside your body, your thoughts will naturally flow and gravitate towards the root of what’s causing these negative emotions.
Quiet Time: Silence can speak volumes! Even just a few minutes a day of pure silence will give students a calm, safe space to reflect and relax which is helpful in long, arduous days of dense schooling!
There are many more exercises designed for kids in the classroom that you can experiment with and see what works and what doesn’t!