Mindfulness can enhance academic performance and mental health in middle schoolers, says study.
Two studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology inferred that more mindfulness correlates with better academic performance, fewer suspensions and less stress.
What is mindfulness? It is the mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment and being distracted by external factors or internal thoughts. “If you’re focused on the teacher in front of you or the homework, that should be good for learning,” John Gabrieli, the Grover M Hermann Professor in Health Sciences and Technology, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences, was quoted as saying.
The researchers also pointed out how mindfulness training can alter brain activity in students. Sixth-grade students, who were observed as part of the study, reported feeling less stressed after receiving mindfulness training. Their brain scans also showed reduced activation of the amygdala, a brain region which processes fear and other emotions.
Not just stress, practising mindfulness can improve your child’s quality of sleep, enhance problem-solving skills, manage impulse and also build stronger relationships. There are various mindfulness games that you can get your child interested in, from breathing games to mindful bathing.
“We think there is a reasonable possibility that mindfulness training would be beneficial for children as part of the daily curriculum in their classroom,” Gabrieli was quoted as saying.
The professor added, “Mindfulness is like going to the gym. If you go for a month, that’s good, but if you stop going, the effects won’t last. It’s a form of mental exercise that needs to be sustained.”