The conspicuous benefits of meditation in business organizations has not gone unnoticed and it has sparked discussions about the importance of mindfulness in the classroom. Can the seemingly simple act of mindful meditation help students? How is it possible? Find out more here.
In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, a renowned figure in the field of meditation, “It is indeed a radical act of love to sit down and be quiet for a time by yourself.” If you look closely, you will discover that this alleged act of love was a means of punishing many kids while growing up. “Little Tommy, go to your room, you’re grounded for two hours.” Sounds familiar, right?
However, this same “punishment” is being practiced by employees and business owners and it has yielded an astronomical increase in productivity. In fact, NYU’s School of Business recently launched a Mindfulness in Business Initiative (MiB) which exposes the students to mindfulness in the classroom environment.
Before we get into the specifics, can we trace back briefly and study the origins of meditation? Perhaps, it might help us appreciate the benefits of meditation better.
History of Meditation and Mindfulness in the Classroom
Some researchers trace the roots of meditation to Yoga and Yoga to Buddhism and Buddhism to Hinduism. However, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just stick to the origin of mindfulness in the classroom.
The Mindfulness Movement which was introduced in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn heralded the proliferation of several programs which comprises meditation for college students. Jon’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) transcended education and found its way into sports, healthcare, the military, and even the business sphere.
As people began to practice the art of meditation, they became proponents of the act. Soon, it became a global revolution. Meditation is now recognized as a worldwide trend. With celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Katy Perry, Hugh Jackman, and even Madonna declaring their fastidiousness to the mindfulness program.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
You might wonder, “Why do so many people enjoy meditating?” It might be surprising to learn that mindfulness is already being applied in schools and significant achievements are been recorded. Here are a few reasons.
1. Mindfulness Allows Students Focus in Class
Spend a few minutes with an average student and you will quickly observe the short attention span. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper in 2007 detailing the benefits of meditation, especially as regards increasing attention and self-regulation. Schools like the Robert W. Coleman Elementary school have replaced detention programs with meditation and this has engendered tangible benefits.
2. Mindfulness Guards Against Anxiety
Medical experts have firmly established the relationship between emotional imbalance and abysmal performances in school. Thankfully, one of the benefits of mindfulness is that it reduces stress and anxiety. Meditation also helps college students manage their emotions better and this position is underpinned by ongoing work by Mark Greenberg at Penn State University.
3. Better Performance in Schools as a Result of Mindful Meditation
Patterson High School initiated the Mindful Moment program in 2012 and the recorded benefits are too good to be true. In just a year, the suspensions for violent conduct such as fighting reduced by over 50%, from 49 to 23. Physical altercations in the same time reduced from 36 to 17.
Apart from the mitigation of violence, the performance of these 1,100 students improved drastically. The attendance rate increased from 71.3% to 74.2%. Also, 64% of students in the 9th grade were promoted to the 10th grade as opposed to 45% recorded before the commencement of the program. Also, the average GPA rose from 1.06 previously to 1.51.
How to Benefit from Mindfulness as a Student
You really can’t wait to get on board. How can you be a part of this wonderful program? Simple! You can practice mindfulness in the classroom in any of the following ways.
Take time out of your busy schedule to breathe. Feel your belly, your lungs, and your nose. Feel yourself breathe!
Make a Conscious Effort to Think
At first, this might seem hard, but when you do it regularly, it becomes a second nature. Think things through, think before that big decision, ponder on the past and plan for the future.
Visualize Your Thoughts and Feelings
Researchers at Harvard, are carrying out brain-imaging studies which attempt to relate visualization and long-term mindfulness. As much as you can, devote time to expressing your thoughts graphically.
Keep a Journal
Finally, record your progress, detail your accomplishments, and work on getting better.
Apps to Practice Mindfulness
As a beginner, this is one of the best ways to learn all about meditation. You can partake in breathing exercises and meditation themes which allow you focus. It is great for users of all ages.
Calm is an app which helps you meditate, breathe, sleep, and relax. Even though the first two benefits are the major ways to practice mindfulness in the classroom, the last two also improve your productivity.
This app helps you apply the principles of Buddha’s meditation while enjoying a highly intuitive interface. There are several options available to choose from, albeit at a price.
You read it right, your mind can smile. Relieve stress, de-pressurize yourself, and be equipped with all that is necessary to face your fears.
Guided meditation has never been so simple. The app provides a platform to practice proven meditation and breathing strategies as of old. They also provide private instructors for meditation sessions which range from 10-minutes to 30-minutes.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the ultimate demonstration of love is being able to enjoy the benefits of meditation. Perhaps, mindfulness in the classroom is what we need to create a safe, cordial, and peaceful school environment? Meditation might just be the key ingredient to turning average students into exceptional lads.
Care to give it a try? You just need a few minutes to start. Here’s a warning, your revolution might not be instantaneous. In fact, it’ll actually take a while. Reflect on this, irrespective of the mood or weather, a professional athlete will hit the tracks, a professional weightlifter will visit the gym, and the individual looking to lose weight will use the treadmill. They all do this with the knowledge that it’ll pay off in the end.
Similarly, meditation is both a mental and physical exercise. If you put in the required effort and practice mindfulness in the classroom, you’ll enjoy the countless benefits of meditation eventually.