The art and practice of mindfulness have been catching on very quickly in school programs globally. The reasons are many and even primary school students would benefit from a bit of mind training. If the same principles are carried over into the adult years and practiced systematically, it is certain that a far more peaceful society would be born!
Why is mindfulness necessary in schools?
As students climb the ladder of the school structure, they are getting busier and more stressed. Subjects increase and the heavy bag besides the daily homework bears them down. Controversies are born regarding the number of subjects, classes and school hours. The sometimes long journeys to and from school and the safety issues are bothersome too.
Confirmation by ample researchers
Experimentation confirms that mindfulness positively affects the prefrontal cortex and results in better decisions, attention spans, emotions and empathy.
In that daily frenzy that is the students’ life from waking to bed again with the expectations and the social pressure to perform excellently, mindfulness will bring profound relief.
A variety of methods
Concentrating on the breath for a minute to start with under supervision requires no additional equipment and has been widely practiced. The practice in groups could be of increased duration gradually. The eyes are usually closed but could be open too. Alternatively, it could be an object or a picture that the mind is focused on. In comparison, the breath is a living thing and a reminder of life. A variety of audio and video materials would help enhance interest and patience with learning and practicing mindfulness. You Tube videos depict nature sounds like the birds, forest streams and oceans to facilitate deeper awareness and understanding.
Shall we call it capturing the mind?
Like a still pond as compared to the raging river, the mind is gradually brought to rest. It is a great relief from stress and anxiety in a constantly whirling consciousness that seeks new playthings each moment. Rushing from thought to thought during the waking hours, the mind is never at rest except during sleep. The quality of sleep may not be as deep as desired.
Assured multiple benefits of mindfulness
After the initial starting problems when kids will be impatient and up to their usual mischief, the mind begins to settle. Gentle but firm management may help curb the particularly unruly ones who will get around to appreciation soon enough.
- The ability to focus
- Being aware of the present in each passing moment
- Self esteem gets a boost
- Develops healthy and positive relationships
- Increases the attention span
- Helps develop the ability to cope with new situations
- Emotional ability increases
- Understanding of the mind processes
Children gradually become emotionally and physically stable and more in control of sudden impulses that should stand them in good stead in difficult situations. Creativity and compassion develop as the powers of the mind are gradually unleashed. It is a win win situation with stress and anxiety reduced and we know how big an issue that becomes during examination time!
Memory works better and the attention can now hold for far longer durations. The kids become more friendly and understanding, healthier and more focused. It is a certain cure for anger, frenzy and violent urges. The kids sleep better because the mind is rested during those brief sessions.
Academic performance is certainly improving with all the brain activities that positively impacts work, study and play in every aspect. If simple procedures do not appeal to smart students, perhaps study and practice materials could be chosen in keeping with their interests. Audio and video would hold their attention. Motivation is important and lectures could highlight how mindfulness is being practiced in schools across the world.
Mindfulness applied to action
After a few weeks of the initial mindfulness sessions have taken place, it is time to get into simple actions that put mindfulness into practice. Walking and eating could be some basic activities that are done each day. Being aware of each bodily action while walking, living calmly in the present and experiencing every moment of life is aimed for.
The eating speed slows down with each mouthful experienced well, the taste thought about and felt. Chewing is done slowly, a reminder that we need to slow down in our stressful lives.
The outdoor experience would motivate the kids more, of whatever age. The fresh air, the greenery and birds and flowers would surely bring a bounce and a zing rather than the stale indoors. Mindfulness is not about going to sleep, but rather being more active and vigorous in a planned manner. Lingayas Public School supports mindfulness exercises for a harmonious lifetsyle.