For nearly 40 years, Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBI) have been researched, developed, supported, and improved. Throughout the last several decades, MBI has progressively moved through health care, mental health, and education.
In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques; by 1992, mindfulness had been used to develop cognitive therapy or MBCT. In the early 2000s, mindfulness was first introduced to education as teachers were trained in self-care, resiliency, and wellness, and were taught how to provide mindfulness techniques to students. In 2004, MBCT (cognitive therapy) was endorsed by the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Three years later, inaugural mindful schools in-class program began. By 2013, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was in more than 200 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics; more than 1,300 studies had been released showing symptom reduction on a wide range of diagnoses, as well as neurobiological impacts. Within two years, students and teachers worldwide had gained access to mindfulness programs.
As the mindfulness movement grows, and the body of evidence continues to increase, mindfulness techniques are becoming incorporated within many different platforms, from hospitals to schools. Although mindfulness is relatively new, the practice is especially beneficial for stressful environments, such as in school where children feel challenged and pressured by coursework and their peers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, early stress can negatively impact learning, behaviors, and memory. A Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence study found that students, on average, reported feeling negative emotions, such as stress or fatigue, around 75% of the time.
Evidence over the last 40 years has shown mindful interventions to have a number of benefits for users:
- Attention – The practice of mindfulness helps to strengthen mental capacities and increases focus and control.
- Adaptability – The created awareness allows us to notice our behavioral patterns and enables us to change our habits.
- Calming – Mindful teaches students breathing techniques that help them calm themselves in the moment without the need of external help.
- Compassion – Awareness of our own feelings, thoughts, and reactions can help us better understand other’s actions and behaviors, increasing our understanding of others.
- Emotional Regulation – Through calming techniques and awareness, we are able to recognize our emotions as they are happening, allowing us to change how we respond and behave.
- Resilience – Looking at yourself from a calm and compassionate view allows us to see things in a more objective way of reducing the negative connotation we put on our narrative of life.