Mindfulness Over Madness
October 6, 2021
Ask any student what their schedule looks like between September to June. They’ll give you a whole list of things they are doing, from school, to sports, extra curriculars, social lives, and family responsibilities. While this sounds impressive to an outside ear, the reality is that the packed schedule of teenagers is taking a major toll on their mental health. In order to mitigate the effects of stress in teens, school teachers and staff should implement time for mindfulness, meditation, and learning about how to become more happy amidst the several obstacles faced on a daily basis. Here are three reasons why mindfulness should be kept in mind.
Enhancing academic performance.
Standardized testing has become a major part of the school system in the United States in the recent decades. In the past, school districts all over the nation strive to have the best scores and numbers in order to prepare their students to pass these exams to better their statistics without taking the students into consideration. According to a study published in the Journal of Adult Education titled Mindfulness and Student Success, “Mindfulness education appears to have a positive impact on academic performance by helping students – even those with learning disabilities – focus, be more organized, plan ahead, perform better on exams, and think critically”. Caring for students’ mental health may seem to take away from precious test prep time when in reality, implementing mindfulness into the curriculums will promote students to work at their full potential and achieve the best scores and grades they can. This allows students to reap benefits academically, socially, and emotionally and will also benefit the schools performance as a whole.
A healthy mind keeps a healthy body.
Schools have always implemented the idea of healthy bodies from Michelle Obama’s “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” to the “FitnessGram PACER test” done in gym classes. Despite their efforts, they have yet to acknowledge the equal importance of mental health, and how bad students are mentally affected. These problems aren’t solved by forcing students to eat or to exercise, and the physical changes they go through aren’t small. According to the CDC, “[D]epression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke”. While these may seem like drastic changes and you think they cannot happen to a teenager, it does. The mind doesn’t actually multitask, your brain is just able to switch from task to task as fast as it can. The overstimulation of these students when doing different activities throughout the day, is hard on their body and mind. They’re so focused on what they have to do next that they’ll forget to do simple necessities like eating breakfast, showering, and using the bathroom. In order to make sure that students are willing to eat, and are motivated to be active in and out of school, it all starts with making sure their mental health can handle it. Some schools are even applying yoga classes in their curriculum, with the idea that students can be calm during this time, slowing down their heart rate and helping blood flow through themselves better. Small breaks for mindfulness gives them the time they need to re energize, or just be at peace with themselves, these breaks should be put in effect for the betterment of students.
Builds a safer and healthier school community
When students and faculty are consumed by their stress and busy schedules, everyone feels very isolated. It is hard to connect with one another when there is clear tension. Relieving this tension amongst students will allow them to feel more comfortable in a school environment. This comfort will translate into a healthier and happier school community. A research story from Harvard, Making time for Mindfulness, discusses a new study about mindfulness in education that suggests “lessons on techniques to calm the mind and body — can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.” Calming the mind and body plays a major role in communication and relationships especially in a school setting. Offering this outlet will allow students to work much better with each other as well as their teachers because they are not consumed with everything they have going on in their lives.