Why Mindfulness Education Can Change Your Life
Healthy stress is a normal part of everyday life, it’s experienced even by children; both adults and children should be challenged to develop and grow from time to time. 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. Prolonged periods of exposure to toxic stress, especially at an early age have negative impacts on a person’s 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. 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. Toxic stress is tricky to work with because a person’s stress response comes from the body’s old survival hardware; as described in evolutionary biology.
Solving the Problem with 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. Habitual responses are easily transformed with regular skill practice, especially when the body is not in a fight, flight or freeze mode. Basically it’s the development of someone’s mindfulness alongside their moment by moment awareness of the surroundings, thoughts, sensations and emotions.
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. 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.