When I first started practising mindfulness and meditation many years ago, not only was it all new to me, but most other people didn’t know what I was talking about either. Now, I can pick up the free paper on the train (like yesterday) and find a little piece that tells me that a study has shown that meditation helps you become more aware of your own unconscious intentions. (The longer article this came from is here.)
Understandably some people are sceptical about all the promises made on behalf of mindfulness: increased focus, calm and emotional resilience and reduced anxiety, depression and stress. However, the number of scientific research papers into mindfulness has grown exponentially over recent years. One example is an American paper from 2014 on Mindfulness Training and Classroom Behaviour Among Lower-Income and Ethnic Minority Elementary School Children. Although this is a very specific focus, it’s also one of the largest sample sizes to date and the results are fairly typical:
‘Results showed that teachers reported improved classroom behavior of their students (i.e., paying attention, self-control, participation in activities, and caring/respect for others) that lasted up to 7 weeks post-intervention.’
Plus there are some interesting observations about how the pupils’ improvements also benefit the teachers’ classroom experience. How much better if they too embark on mindfulness training!
As always, the best way to find out about the possible benefits is to try it for ourselves, but if you would like a UK overview of the evidence regarding mindfulness in schools, do have a read of this very useful article by Dan Jones in ‘The Psychologist’. If you’d like to see a list of academic research into mindfulness, have a look here on Mindfulnet, which includes the clinical application of mindfulness on particular conditions, such as ADHD and autism.
And we may have to be mindful that we don’t have the time to read everything written about mindfulness!