Practiced by celebrities and the Marines alike, mindfulness
meditation has become a routine in battling daily stress and anxiety. As it
becomes more popular, studies show that meditation is producing health
benefits, being just as effective as medication for depression, anxiety and
pain. With the success of meditation with adults, schools have taken notice of
this new age practice and added it to their academic curriculum due to positive
When New Haven Academy in New Haven, Connecticut, started to require
students to take yoga and meditation classes, studies found that the stress
hormone cortisol was significantly reduced among students. Schools that
implemented the Transcendental Meditation program Quiet Time saw higher scores in standardized tests compared to schools that did not offer the
program. Visitacion Valley Middle School found attendance rates skyrocketed to
98 percent, improved grade-point averages and increased happiness levels. In addition, students seemed to have better self-control,
attentiveness and respect.
Programs such as Headstand, which "empowers
at-risk youth in K–12 to combat toxic stress through mindfulness, yoga and
character education," have been praised by many students, even though they were
initially hesitant to try.
"Just having a good 45
minutes to not hear any noise and keep to yourself mentally actually helped me
prepare for the next class periods," said Michael, a student who participated
in Headstand, reported to
The Atlantic. "After yoga class, I would feel pretty rejuvenated."
Not only does meditation help with stress, it also encourages students to embrace themselves as
individuals with characteristics that they should not be ashamed about.
"My imperfections were what
made me unique," said Tracy, another Headstand student. "Through yoga, I
reprogrammed my mind to accept my disabilities and to not be crippled by them.
I still have a twisted spine, but I can persevere through it."
No matter what background or
circumstances students face, mindfulness and meditation can be a mental oasis for
them to take time to recuperate from the anxiety and stress of daily life and
develop skills to create a peace of mind when necessary.