Can Meditation Make you a Better Teacher?
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I often do is check my message, then my social media. I may take a few minutes to listen to a podcast or music while I put together my French Press coffee. I normally don’t eat at home and if I do eat breakfast it is normally fast food. My life seems to run at breakneck speed juggling projects with relationships and I can find myself dropping into my bed with a list of tasks still marked “Incomplete”. Working out, eating healthy, meditation – those are all low on my list of priorities because I know me, I’ll cut myself some slack, I won’t yell at me if those things don’t get done. The other tasks on my list are often requirements – especially if I want to pay my bills or have people in my life – at least that is what I tell myself. But is my life so hectic that I don’t have time for 15 minutes of meditation?
From headspace.com – “Science has proven that the benefits of meditation are too good to ignore. And while we don’t need to meditate daily to experience its positive effect on your health and happiness, studies have shown that we can unlock even more benefits when we meditate for consecutive days. In fact, completing just one 15-minute session of meditation using the Headspace app resulted in 22% reduction in mind wandering. And four weeks of using Headspace daily resulted in 14% increase in focus.”
Not convinced? When researching meditation I found one site with over 141 ways that meditation helps your mind, body, emotional and spiritual well being. But who has time for 141 benefits? Instead I will give you seven that I found from a Forbes article that were exactly what I was looking for, especially number six – reducing anxiety. I don’t know about you, but I get anxious about deadlines and I stress out about making new commitments and keeping ones already made. I have FOMO (fear of missing out) and I say “Yes” in order to please people instead of taking a few moments for self care.
Here are Seven benefits of Meditation:
- Meditation Helps Preserve the Aging Brain
- Meditation Reduces Activity in the Brain’s “Me Center”
- Its Effects Rival Antidepressants for Depression, Anxiety
- Meditation May Lead to Volume Changes in Key Areas of the Brain
- Just a Few Days of Training Improves Concentration and Attention
- Meditation Reduces Anxiety — and Social Anxiety – A lot of people start meditating for its benefits in stress reduction, and there’s lots of good evidence to support this rationale. There’s a whole newer sub-genre of meditation, mentioned earlier, called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Mindfulness (now available all over the country), that aims to reduce a person’s stress level, physically and mentally. Studies have shown its benefits in reducing anxiety, even years after the initial 8-week course.
- Meditation Can Help with Addiction
Meditation in the Classroom
Based on the above seven reasons alone, it is clear that meditation could be incredibly valuable for a teacher. Teachers often wear many hats in a students’ life and deal with a variety of situations involving students, parents and faculty members. Instead of grabbing an extra cup of coffee or a snack, it can be more beneficial to take that time to meditate. Teachers can use meditation not only for themselves, but also for their students. According to a recent Edutopia article, “…meditation can help students strengthen their self-regulation and their focus on coursework. It also boosts their overall health, reduces negative feelings, and fosters compassion.” Who doesn’t want more of this in their classroom! The article encourages meditation in the classroom, but it also states that teachers should develop their own practice of meditation before teaching it to their students. Furthermore, including administration and other faculty in your meditation practice can also be beneficial.
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