Mindfulness in Schools
& How its Impacting Kids Everywhere
“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience”
Toxic stress is one of the most serious and quickly-growing threats to child well-being in the United States. It’s particularly dangerous because it doesn’t have one single cause but is instead a product of school and community violence, poverty, and other adverse childhood experiences.
Okay, but what is toxic stress and how does it impact our kids?
Toxic stress happens when the stress response is activated for long periods of time without the buffer of healthy relationships. Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child, along with a growing number of accredited institutions, found that toxic stress can actually change a child’s brain and affect their capacity to absorb information no matter how it’s taught.
Alright but this is a mindfulness newsletter. Where's the mindfulness stuff?
Okay so, the goal is to transform toxic stress into it’s much more easy-going cousin, tolerable stress. We do this through mindfulness.
The Momentus Institute in Dallas, Texas does this by asking students to picture a glitter ball. When they’re experiencing stress, the glitter ball is shaken and you can’t see through it clearly. Breathing techniques and other mindfulness activities help students “settle their glitter” so they can be their best selves.
Enough of this. Show me the numbers.
Though there isn’t much large scale research for kids specifically (yet), we’ve seen a few trends so far.
1. Higher scores on standardized vocabulary and literacy assessments
2. Greater improvements in working memory and capacity to plan and organize
3. Higher levels of empathy leading to a decrease in bullying and suspension rates.