The Basics of Mindful Education
Healthy stress is a natural part of our everyday lives, even children experience it; regardless if the person experiencing it is a child or adult, people have to be challenged from time to time in order to grow and develop. With the way that education systems work today, toxic stress often takes the place of healthy stress; when a person finds themselves outpaced with life’s demands on a regular basis, toxic stress kicks in.
What Toxic Stress Does
Toxic stress can do a lot of damage lime impaired mood and emotion regulation, sleep, attention, and the willingness to learn in an average classroom. What’s more is that the constant exposure to toxic stress beginning at an early age has negative impacts on a person’s physical and mental health. Decreased creativity and productivity are usually where toxic stress begins and it could very well escalate to more serious symptoms like frustration, anxiety, dissociation and burnout. Because of toxic stress, and other defining factors, around half a million teachers in the United States leave their profession on a yearly basis.
Parents are usually exposed to various triggers for toxic stress, their parenting styles could also suffer along the way; parenting becomes more of a to-do list than the present-centered and empathic relationship with their children. Considerable exposure to parental stress in childhood has been proven to greatly impact gene expression even when the child has grown into adulthood. 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.
The Solution: Mindfulness
The roots of toxic stress lie deep in a person’s nervous system, special tools are needed to go further than the conceptual mind and target that system directly. 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.
Mindfulness Education’s Benefits
A handful of scientific evidence points out that mindfulness education and intervention greatly improves a person’s self-control, recovery from addiction, emotional resilience, attention span, memory and immune response. Below is the summary of benefits relevant for educators:
1. Attention – improves the mental muscle in bringing the focus back just where and when the person want it.
2. Emotional Regulation – being highly aware of one’s emotion helps identify whenever they occur, to see their essence and to decide how to properly respond to them.
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.