Recently, there has been an uptick in school districts teaching their students to practice mindfulness, especially in the form of meditation. Nonprofits lead mindfulness programs, large corporations donate to mindfulness campaigns, and even book publishers are incorporating mindfulness into textbooks. Generally, mindfulness is about bringing awareness to yourself: to your thoughts, your breathing, sensations, and emotions. There is a lot of positive research to back up this new practice in schools.
Though there is still much research to be done in this area, studies thus far suggest that teaching children mindfulness can actually decrease anxiety and increase general cognitive performance. Mindfulness can also directly benefit at-risk youth by helping them cope with past trauma. Additionally, practicing mindfulness can lead to greater compassion and emotional regulation, because it teaches children to become deeply introspective and think more about their feelings and actions. Mindfulness can also help develop young brains.
So far, mindfulness has attained stellar results in schools. A vast majority of participants reported feeling less stressed, more focused, more emotionally regulated, and better connected with other students and teachers. In sum, mindfulness practice can benefit children in many ways, and while research is still emerging, there is a promising future for mindfulness programs in schools.