What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is concerned with making yourself aware of your surroundings and “in the moment”. It can focus on your own internal environment but also that of the world around you. Mindful moments have been used in many disciplines including cognitive behavioural psychology, neuroscience and positive psychology.
Mindfulness is offered widely by a number of providers in the UK as CPD. The quality is therefore variable. One good programme is the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP). This project helps adults to teach mindfulness to both primary and secondary children as well as develop their own understanding and use. Regular supervision alongside these projects are also recommended.
Who might benefit?
All students can benefit from this type of approach with benefits including resilience and coping skill improvements, attention, self control and compassion development. It is particularly useful for children with anxiety, depression and behavioural concerns.
What does the research say?
There is a limit amount of research available at present to measure the true impact of mindfulness. However, “Mindfulness based interventions have small to medium positive impact on depression and emotional self-regulation and small positive effects on anxiety (Weare, 2018)”.
Bluth, K., Campo, R. A., Pruteanu-Malinici, S., Reams, A., Mullarkey, M., and Broderick, P. C. (2015). ‘A school-based mindfulness pilot study for ethnically diverse at-risk adolescents.’ Mindfulness.
Kallapiran, K., Koo, S., Kirubakaran, R., and Hancock, K. (2015). ‘Effectiveness of mindfulness in improving mental health symptoms of children and adolescents: A meta-analysis’. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 20: 182–194.
Kuyken, W., Weare, K., Ukoumunne, O. C., Vicary, R., Motton, N., Burnett, R., and Huppert, F. (2013). ‘Effectiveness of the mindfulness in schools programme: Non-randomised controlled feasibility study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 203(2): 126–131.
Weare, K. (2015). ‘Evidence for mindfulness: impacts on the wellbeing and performance of school staff’. http://mindfulnessinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Evidence-for-Mindfulness-Impact-on-school-staff.pdf