Why Mindfulness Education Can Change Your Life

Healthy stress is a normal part of everyday life, it’s experienced even by children; both adults and children should be challenged to develop and grow from time to time. Sadly, the education system in the world today facilitate toxic stress instead of healthy stress; toxic stress happens when the demands of life or tasks in general frequently outpace the person’s overall ability to cope.

Effects of Toxic Stress

Toxic stress can do a number on the body and the person might not even realize it at first; effects include, but are not limited to, impairment in mood and emotion regulation, capacity to pay attention, sleep and the readiness to learn inside classroom. Exposure to toxic stress, especially during childhood and with frequency, has lifelong impacts on physical and mental health. Decreased creativity and productivity are the usual beginnings of toxic stress taking its hold and eventually escalates to frequent dissociation, anxiety, frustration and burnout of left to develop. For teachers, comes to a point where they actually quit to pursue another passion; in the United States, around half a million teachers leave their profession every year.

Of course parents are also highly prone to toxic stress, it could affect parenting styles to a point that it feels more like a to-do list instead of a present-centered, empathic relationship with a child. Considerable exposure to parental stress in childhood has been proven to greatly impact gene expression even when the child has grown into adulthood. Toxic stress is tricky to work with because a person’s stress response comes from the body’s old survival hardware; as described in evolutionary biology.

The Solution: Mindfulness

Toxic stress stems from somewhere deep in the body’s nervous system, specific tools are required in going beyond the conceptual mind and reaching the said target system. Habitual responses are easily transformed with regular skill practice, especially when the body is not in a fight, flight or freeze mode. It is the development and improvement of a person’s mindfulness, a constant awareness of one’s surrounding environment, emotions, thoughts and sensation.

Positive Effects of Mindfulness Education

Proven scientific research suggest that mindfulness education and interventions aid with a person’s emotional resilience, memory and immune system response, attention span, recovery from addiction and self-control. Below is the summary of benefits relevant for educators:

1. Overall Attention Span – greatly strengthens a person’s mental muscle, thus improving focus; the person will find it easier to focus on subjects at just about any time of the day.

2. Better Emotional Regulation – being able to observe one’s emotion aids in recognizing when these emotions occur and see their transient nature as well as effectively decide how to properly respond.

3. Developing Resilience – when a person looks at life objectively, there’s a reduced chance of adding to the narrative of the world’s ups and downs, thus achieving balance.

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