A study shows how mindfulness practices can help improve cognitive behaviors in students. I read this specifically because I am a firm believer in being mindful, and here is the data in summary.
Essentially, mindfulness does have a positive impact on cognitive behaviour in students, but not in all situations. When it comes to working, as in classwork, homework, any subject in fact being mindful or having practiced mindfulness exercises does help. It especially helps and improves performance when mindfulness is then practiced “at home” or extended outside of the classroom or school setting. This is the case for any age group from elementary to university.
Where does mindfulness not help? Mindfulness is less effective in stress and resilience. Mindfulness is least effective at an emotional level.
Now think about mindfulness for a moment., Mindfulness goes much further than meditation. Meditation is a tool used to practice mindfulness in a controlled environment. This does, though, make the practice become that – a practice – and not relied on as a process which will naturally occur. It does, in fact. The natural occurence of it happens, though, once you begin as time passes.
Back to mindfulness. Mindfulness is about being. It’s about being present. It’s more aligned to being conscious of what is happening, and what we are doing, than anything else. This is precisely why I say that mindfulness does come naturally to us, but we usually need to take initiative to start. To begin noticing.
When students are working on a determined task. An assignment, project, a thought to answer a question – that is cognition, and being in the moment to gather their knowledge to is being mindful. And so, do you see where cognition and mindfulness work together? As for stressors and resilience, this would take a student to step back and consciously, purposefully, be present and determine they will work towards relieving their stressors and to build resilience. In the emotional realm, this would take even more effort directly from the student because many times students are not even aware they need to take specific measures towards their actions. Sometimes they do, but many times they do not. Many times students are reprimanded for a job not well done, but never told why nor how to change [it] to something positive. How to get the good grade, flor example.
This study focused on students, and their interactions with mindfulness practices can easily be transferred to adults. Consider doing something with intention whether it is making a phone call or writing an email. That is being mindful. Now consider stressors. We are sometimes, as adults and working professionals so bombarded with daily life and all of its many faces that we sometimes simply react to [our] situations. Many times without being mindful. We react in what can be considered our “natural” way of reacting. Well, maybe we should reply to our situations? When we reply we stop for an instant and sometimes quite keenly reply mindfully. Emotionally, one would fall in line with the students and it simply taking more effort. More stepping back. More realization. More noticing. It’s for [this] reason that mindfulness shows the least correlation and positive effects when aligned to emotions and behavior.
I thought it would be interesting to share this. I find it especially useful because as individuals we sometimes forget how mindful we really are being. That seems to be a huge problem these days. We disregard that we are noticing, that we are making choices as to how we react. We are replying.
Lets keep our own strengths in mind.