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How Mindfulness Helps Curb School Anxiety

How Mindfulness Helps Curb School Anxiety

May is Mental Health Month--and therefore a good time to pay respect to the benefits that mindfulness provides to stressed out educators.

It’s no secret that the country’s educators are stressed out--increasing class sizes, never-ending standardized test prep, constantly changing evaluations and a lack of competitive pay are just a few of the many reasons teachers are stressed. Add in the environment of managing a bunch of very different children in one classroom and it’s a surprise that teachers are even able to function!

Of course, as stress tends to do, sometimes high levels of anxiousness and nerves get the best of teachers.

ASCD Smartbrief member and educator Patrick Delaney understands that.

"Why was my mind so busy? How was it that other people could just go through life without a care in the world while I was stuck with this criticizing voice in my head? My mind continuously ran through 'what if' and 'if only' statements all day, every day. It wasn’t fair, and I was sure I was the only one experiencing this self-doubting dialogue,” he said.

So Delaney began a journey to find out how mindfulness techniques could help him--and others too.

"I collected data every two weeks through the use of surveys specifically designed to measure stress and anxiety in adolescents. Twelve weeks later I returned. The data confirmed that teaching students about the brain and nervous system along with practicing mindfulness each day for 10 minutes was making a major impact in reducing their stress and anxiety. A year later, I was asked to teach mindfulness to a group of incoming general education freshman along with teaching two classes to students with disabilities,” he said.

Now, Delaney works with a variety of different kinds of students to teach mindfulness. Not only is he starting a mindfulness club in school, he’s also spent time teaching mindfulness to his school’s athletic teams.

"The difference it made in the players was evident throughout the season. In the winter, I began working with the Varsity Girls Basketball team. The players took mindfulness and made it part of their everyday lives. They believed and trusted in the process and had their best season ever making it to the state championship final four tournament. After the basketball season ended, I began teaching mindfulness to the Boys Golf team.”

"Going through life in the present moment is so much better than living in the past and worrying about the future. Armed with mindfulness, I’m now able to help others experience this difference for themselves.”

Read the full post.

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