Practicing mindfulness in schoolsIntroducing meditation in classrooms can help children's learning and overall well-being
While digital gadgets like smartphones have saved people a lot of time, provided people with new opportunities to learn, and improved access to information, it has also stretched their attention in multiple directions. The ever-growing digital dependency is disconnecting them from real-world human connection.
The constant influx of emails, notifications, social media updates can be overwhelming and cause stress and mental fatigue. Mindfulness practices such as meditation have become necessary coping mechanisms to navigate the fast-paced, information-saturated world.
With the increasing availability of digital devices children are spending more time online which may interfere with their learning and concentration in the classroom, as well as decrease focus and attention span. Excessive screen time has also been proven to be harmful to children's cognitive development, including attention, memory, and academic achievement. It can also cause behavioral difficulties, including impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention.
In this day and age of digital distraction, it is important to introduce meditation in classrooms, as it can help students develop skills in mindfulness, focus, and emotional regulation, which are critical for learning and overall well-being.
Meditation can also promote empathy and compassion among students, which can help to build a more positive and supportive classroom culture. By learning to be more present and aware of their thoughts and feelings, students can develop a greater understanding of the perspectives of others and be more empathetic toward their peers. Meditation can also help them develop better concentration, focus, and problem-solving skills, which can lead to better academic performance.
Those who practice meditation on a daily basis can enhance their attention and emotional regulation abilities, allowing them to handle stress more effectively and improve their general well-being.
Digital overuse also has potentially negative effects on children's creativity and imagination. Excessive screen time and over-reliance on digital devices can lead to a lack of imaginative play and limit opportunities for children to focus and engage in deep, creative thinking. This can lead to a reduction in the quality and originality of their ideas and a decreased ability to generate new, innovative solutions to problems.
To avoid these possible adverse effects it is important to encourage them to participate in activities such as dhyaan yoga or meditation yoga that stimulate creativity and imagination. Dhyaan Yoga can help children learn to connect more deeply with themselves and others, and could also serve as a tool for helping build empathy and compassion.
It is necessary to separate meditation from religion. Meditation is a practice that can be approached from a secular perspective and adapted to suit a variety of cultural, philosophical, and spiritual traditions. In a secular context like classrooms, meditation can be approached as a tool for enhancing well-being, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving mental health.
Many schools and educational institutions are introducing meditation programs as a way to promote the mental health and well-being of students, without any religious or spiritual content. These programs focus on teaching students how to develop mindfulness and self-regulation skills, which can help them manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges.
Modeling the meditation practice in the classroom is an effective technique to introduce students to mindfulness practices and instruct them on how to apply them to their everyday lives. Teachers can meditate in front of students to demonstrate how it is done. This can be done at specific meditation times or as part of a regular routine, such as before or after class. This helps students understand the advantages of mindfulness techniques and learn how to apply them in their daily lives.
Finding peace through meditation can be challenging. However, if teachers and students work together, they can create an environment conducive to meditation, promote peace in the school community, and incorporate mindfulness into their lessons. Simple exercises like mindfulness breathing, mindful walking, or mindful listening can help students stay focused and present.
Providing professional development, modeling the practice, building a supportive community, providing resources, working with outside groups, and fostering self-care may help train teachers to integrate meditation into their classes and create a conducive school culture.
Regular meditation practice in schools allows students to gain vital skills that will serve them both in and out of the classroom, as well as discover the missing peace in a digitally overwhelming environment.
Basudev Gautam is the President and Founder of Lumbini World Peace Forum and an activist for 1 Million Trees Plantation Drive in Nepal