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The Basics of Mindful Education
Healthy stress is actually a great part of life, even children experience it; adults and children alike should go through healthy stress to be able to grow and develop. Unfortunately, with the education system we have today healthy stress is often overpowered by toxic stress; when the demands of life regularly outpace a person’s ability to cope with the said demands then toxic stress occurs.
Effects of Toxic Stress
Dozens of problems arise from the constant feeling of toxic stress, like impaired mood and emotion regulation, sleep, attention and willingness to learn in the classroom. Exposure to toxic stress, especially during childhood and with frequency, has lifelong impacts on physical and mental health. Toxic stress typically begins with reduced creativity and productivity which oftentimes escalate to other relentless symptom like dissociation, anxiety, frustrations and burnout. 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.
Parents becoming prone to toxic stress is no surprise, the effects even reach a point where their parenting styles seem more like to-do lists rather than a present-centered and empathic relationship with developing children. A child constantly being exposed to parental stress will bear some effects; it impacts their gene expression even when they’ve already grown into adults. Due to the fact that every person’s response to stress involves an old survival hardware in the body, toxic stress could be extremely difficult to work with.
Mindfulness Should be the Solution
Somewhere quite deep in the body’s nervous system, lies the root of toxic stress but specific tools are required in going beyond the conceptual mind and directly accessing the system. In improving someone’s habitual responses, constant skill practice is a must especially when the body is not in a fight, flight or freeze mode. It’s basically the development and enhancement of a person’s mindfulness as well as constant awareness of their sensation, surrounding environment, emotions and thoughts.
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. Attention Span – enhances the mental muscle so it will be easier to bring back focus or direct it where and when the person wants it to be.
2. Improving Emotional Regulation – when a person is acutely aware of their emotions, it’s quick to recognize when they occur and see their transient nature as well as adjust the way they respond.
3. Resilience – being objective in the way things occur in the narrative of the world’s ups and downs being forth greater balance in a person’s life.
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