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Why Mindfulness is a Must in Education

Healthy stress is actually a great part of life, even children experience it; adults and children alike should go through healthy stress to be able to grow and develop. Sadly, the education system in the world today facilitate toxic stress instead of healthy stress; toxic stress happens when the demands of life or tasks in general frequently outpace the person’s overall ability to cope.

Effects of Toxic Stress

Toxic stress can do a number on the body and the person might not even realize it at first; effects include, but are not limited to, impairment in mood and emotion regulation, capacity to pay attention, sleep and the readiness to learn inside classroom. What’s more is that the constant exposure to toxic stress beginning at an early age has negative impacts on a person’s physical and mental health. Decreased creativity and productivity are the usual beginnings of toxic stress taking its hold and eventually escalates to frequent dissociation, anxiety, frustration and burnout of left to develop. Because of toxic stress, and other defining factors, around half a million teachers in the United States leave their profession on a yearly basis.

Of course parents are also highly prone to toxic stress, it could affect parenting styles to a point that it feels more like a to-do list instead of a present-centered, empathic relationship with a child. Considerable exposure to parental stress in childhood has been proven to greatly impact gene expression even when the child has grown into adulthood. Due to the fact that every person’s response to stress involves an old survival hardware in the body, toxic stress could be extremely difficult to work with.

Solving the Problem with Mindfulness

Toxic stress stems from somewhere deep in the body’s nervous system, specific tools are required in going beyond the conceptual mind and reaching the said target system. Habitual responses are easily transformed with regular skill practice, especially when the body is not in a fight, flight or freeze mode. It is the development and improvement of a person’s mindfulness, a constant awareness of one’s surrounding environment, emotions, thoughts and sensation.

Benefits of Mindfulness Education

Scientific evidence backs up claims that mindfulness education and intervention enhances the person’s recovery from addiction, self-control, attention span, emotional resilience, and memory and immune response. Below is the summary of benefits relevant for educators:

1. Overall Attention Span – greatly strengthens a person’s mental muscle, thus improving focus; the person will find it easier to focus on subjects at just about any time of the day.

2. Improving Emotional Regulation – when a person is acutely aware of their emotions, it’s quick to recognize when they occur and see their transient nature as well as adjust the way they respond.

3. Developing Resilience – when a person looks at life objectively, there’s a reduced chance of adding to the narrative of the world’s ups and downs, thus achieving balance.

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