Why Mindfulness is a Must in Education
Healthy stress is a normal part of everyday life, it’s experienced even by children; both adults and children should be challenged to develop and grow from time to time. 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
Dozens of problems arise from the constant feeling of toxic stress, like impaired mood and emotion regulation, sleep, attention and willingness to learn in the 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 usually where toxic stress begins and it could very well escalate to more serious symptoms like frustration, anxiety, dissociation and burnout. For teachers, comes to a point where they actually quit to pursue another passion; in the United States, around half a million teachers leave their profession every year.
Parents becoming prone to toxic stress is no surprise, the effects even reach a point where their parenting styles seem more like to-do lists rather than a present-centered and empathic relationship with developing children. 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.
Mindfulness Should be the Solution
The roots of toxic stress lie deep in a person’s nervous system, special tools are needed to go further than the conceptual mind and target that system directly. In transforming a person’s habitual responses, constant skill practice has to be implements when the situation does not call for 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.
Mindfulness Education’s Benefits
A handful of scientific evidence points out that mindfulness education and intervention greatly improves a person’s self-control, recovery from addiction, emotional resilience, attention span, 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. Resilience – being objective in the way things occur in the narrative of the world’s ups and downs being forth greater balance in a person’s life.