CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat models/frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school or district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSocial Belonging InterventionSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for Administrators, Teachers and StaffPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesComprehensive Wellbeing ProgramsOther ResourcesAdditional Wellbeing FrameworksPROSPERASPIRESEARCHFive Ways to WellbeingWellbeing Conceptual Framework (Huppert & So)

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has been growing in popularity as a coping mechanism for stress and for its use in combating mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. While mindfulness has its roots in meditative practices from Buddhism and other Eastern cultures and religions, the modern practice of mindfulness was first developed by psychologist Ellen Langer in the 1970s, when she discovered that mindful practice led to improved cognitive function in older adults (Cohen & Gonchar, 2017). Mindfulness has been defined as a practice that “enhances attention by bringing awareness to the object of attention whether it is the breath, other bodily sensations, external stimuli, thoughts, or emotions” (p. 183). Mindfulness involves mental activities which share in common a focus on training the self-regulation of attention and awareness” (Lomas et al., 2017, p. 134 ). Below we have included a list of mindfulness activities you may consider practicing each day. Flook and colleagues (2013) state that just as physical health is improved through regular exercise, consistent mindfulness practice is essential for the benefits of mindfulness on psychological well-being to be fully recognized.

Guided Meditation Resources

UCLA Health (n.d.). Guided meditations. https://edtechbooks.org/-hKaK

CREATE for Education (n.d.). Mindfulness Practices. https://edtechbooks.org/-eAjK 

Materials: Varies
Duration: A few minutes daily, as needed. Varies depending on activity.
Implementation:
  • “Two Feet- One Breath:” Take 5 seconds to be mindful of the sensation of both your feet on the floor and take a deep, cleansing breath.
  • Plan to make one small activity each day more mindful (eating, commuting, drinking water, etc.). Commit to give this activity your full attention and savor the sensations you experience during this activity. 
  • Listen to and follow along with a guided mindful meditation recording, like the ones provided here.
  • Print a few mandala drawings (or create your own) and practice mindful breathing while coloring in the mandala.
You may also consider purchasing Patricia Jennings (2015) book Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom for additional suggestions about practicing mindfulness in a school setting.

Does it work?

Cohen and Ganchar (2017) provide some tips for teachers on getting started with mindfulness, many of which, though researched for their effectiveness in adult well-being, have not been thoroughly studied in their effectiveness with teachers. One recommended breathing activity is called “two feet one breath” and involves taking five seconds to feel the sensation of one’s feet on the floor and of taking one long breath (Cohen & Ganchar, 2017). This activity was found to significantly improve burnout among physicians and other care professionals (Chen cited by Cohen & Ganchar, 2017). Teachers can also make one activity each day, such as drinking water or eating lunch, more mindful. This can be as simple as focusing one’s entire attention on the experience of one bite or taste, instead of performing other teaching tasks at the same time, similar to the mindful walking or eating activities included in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) (Cohen & Ganchar, 2017; Santorelli et al., 2017). Sharp and Jennings(2016) found that some of the most helpful mindfulness practices among teachers were mindful breathing, mindful walking, and a body scan relaxation exercise.

Another individual mindfulness-based intervention that has been researched recently is a mindful coloring exercise (Czerwinski et al., 2020). For this study, 45 teachers from a variety of primary and secondary schools in the UK were observed. Half of the participants were assigned to the intervention group and instructed to watch a video explaining mindful coloring, while coloring in a mandala drawing, once a day for five days (Czerwinski et al., 2020). Participants in the intervention group reported significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress following the intervention using a number of self-reported surveys. The researchers concluded that mindful coloring could be a viable option for improving teacher well-being and burnout (Czerwinski et al., 2020). Though this is the only current study regarding the use of mindful coloring specifically for teachers, Mantzios and Giannou (2018) found that a mindful coloring activity successfully reduced anxiety among female undergraduate students.

References:

Cohen, A. & Gonchar, M. (2017, Sept. 7). Cultivating mindfulness for educators using resources from the New York Times. The New York Times. https://edtechbooks.org/-dKjW 

Czerwinski, N., Egan, H., Cook, A. & Mantzios,M. (2020). Teachers and mindful colouring to tackle burnout and increase mindfulness, resiliency and wellbeing. Contemporary School Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-020-00279-9

Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K., & Davidson, R. J. (2013). Mindfulness for teachers: A pilot study to assess effects on stress, burnout, and teaching efficacy. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 182-195. https://edtechbooks.org/-GUyV

Jennings, P. A. (2015). Mindfulness for teachers: Simple skills for peace and productivity in the classroom. United States: W. W. Norton. 

Mantzios, M. & Giannou, K. (2018). When did coloring books become mindful? Exploring the effectiveness of a novel method of mindfulness-guided instructions for coloring books to increase mindfulness and decrease anxiety. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1-9. https://edtechbooks.org/-nrtm

Santorelli, S., Meleo-Meyer, F. & Koerbel, L. (2017) Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) authorized curriculum guide. Worcester, MA: Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. 

Sharp, J.E. & Jennings, P.A. (2016). Strengthening teacher presence through mindfulness: What educators say about the cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE) program. Mindfulness, 7, 209-218. https://edtechbooks.org/-vCEs 

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