Mindfulness classes improve health of schoolchildren

May 3, 2021
Mindfulness classes improve health of schoolchildren

Mindfulness is an ancient meditation technique that involves focusing awareness on the present moment, as a means of fostering calm, wellbeing and insight. New research conducted by the University of Derby and Derbyshire Educational Psychology Service, UK,  has found that mindfulness programmes delivered by school teachers can improve the mental health of school-age children and help them to feel more optimistic.

“The study’s findings are consistent with wider evidence demonstrating the positive impact of mindfulness on school children’s levels of emotional resiliency, emotional stability, wellbeing and stress,” said Dr. William Van Gordon, Associate Professor in Contemplative Psychology at the University.

More than 1,000 pupils aged between 9-12 years old across 25 schools in Derbyshire, received one 45-minute mindfulness session per week for nine weeks during the year-long project; the weekly sessions also involved activities such as practicing mindful breathing, paying attention to bodily sensations, and exercises intended to help cultivate attention skills and a greater awareness of emotions.

Delivered by teachers in a traditional classroom environment, the sessions were evaluated by comparing psychological assessments that the children completed before and after the classes. Part of the evaluation measured children’s emotional resiliency using The Resiliency Scale for Children, while wellbeing was rated using the Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale.

Overall, the study found a significant improvement in positive emotional state, outlook and resiliency. Of the increase in the different dimensions of resilience: optimism increased by 10%, tolerance was improved by 8% and self-efficacy, how a child feels they can cope with a situation based on the skills they have and the circumstances they face, improved by 11%.

Professor Van Gordon added, “These findings are also in line with the view that preventative interventions given at a young age can help to reduce the incidence of mental health problems in young people.”

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Category: Features, Wellness and Complementary Therapies

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