Mindful meditation has been practised for thousands of years. Recently, though, science has started looking at its effects on our minds and bodies, and some important conclusions are being drawn from those experiences.

One study, for example, suggested that mindful meditation could provide people doing very stressful jobs with a kind of defence against disruptive emotions.
Another investigation suggested mindful meditation
could improve a person’s memory and focus.
 

Mindfulness in particular has become an integral part of certain quite successful psychotherapies, because attention to the here and now
is somehow extremely healing.

At school, when students misbehave, they are usually given detention or suspension. Some schools, however, are trying, quite successfully, to use a different strategy. Instead of punishing disruptive students or sending them to the principal’s office, they send them to a place called Mindful Moment Room.

It is a room with lamps and pillows that help create an atmosphere of relaxation. Misbehaving kids are encouraged to sit and go through practices like breathing or meditation, which help them calm down and re-centre. They are also asked to talk about what happened and to try to understand the motives for behaving the way they did.

The Mindful Moment Room was created with a view to offering students some time of their own, as well as some space of their own. We all know that schools are noisy places and that peer relationships are always emotionally demanding. To be able stop for a while and to focus on what is bothering us to the point of triggering off offensive language or abusive behaviour can help create a distance between yourself and your behaviour in order to provide you with some valuable clues. 

Some students move on to different pastimes once they get used to concentrate on their breathing and to meditating. They help clean up local parks, they build gardens, or they spend some time at the local animal shelter. Others take to reading short-stories or books, something they never did before taking the habit of sitting down quietly for a while.

There are many schools, in different countries, setting up programs of this type, all of them producing incredible results. In some schools, suspension rates have dropped drastically, class attendance has increased, and students have achieved better academic results.

J.G.

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