Students lead hectic, stressful lives. Between regular schoolwork, extracurriculars, and general “growing pains,” a great deal of pressure is placed on our students. As educators, integrating mindfulness – mental focus on the present moment – into the classroom is one of the single best ways to improve our students’ mental well-being. And mindfulness apps for students can help.
Why Emphasize Mindfulness? Why Apps?
Many of the stressors that students experience come from an unhealthy (but perfectly understandable) concern over factors outside the “now.” At any given moment, students are juggling past, present, and future concerns without a moment’s pause – that’s a lot of pressure!
Mindfulness helps break that cycle of constant worry. At its core, mindfulness is about allowing your mind a moment to rest and relax in the present moment. For students (who often run on little sleep and even fewer breaks), a moment for peace of mind is invaluable. Whether it’s a simple breathing exercise or a guided meditation technique, you’ll find that your students are much better off.
Of course, time is the most precious commodity in any classroom. The right app can help your students reap the benefits of mindfulness in only a few minutes – something perfect for the otherwise fully-booked classroom.
Kick-Starting the Process
Trying something completely new in the classroom can be an interesting endeavor. On one hand, you know that what you’re teaching has real, tangible benefits for your students. On the other hand, your students know what they like – a break from the norm might trigger “defense mechanisms” in your kids. Don’t worry: the right app to kick-start the mindfulness experience is right around the corner.
Free for all K-12 teachers throughout the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, Headspace is one of the most popular mindfulness apps used in the modern classroom. This app is fantastic for introducing students to the basics of meditation. Headspace includes a wide range of content (all child-friendly) and both guided and unguided mindfulness exercises. The options are limitless: you can choose from one-off exercises all the way to weeks-long programs, depending on your needs.
Make room for Headspace in your busy classroom schedule.
All About Breathing
The tangible, quantifiable health benefits of mindfulness are no longer a mystery. Breathing – proper breathing, that is – is a major component of what makes mindfulness so helpful to our students. To that end, an app like Calm can help teach your students proper breathing and meditation techniques with just a few minutes each day.
The approach is simple: start the day with a short moment of meditation. Let your students rest and reset for just a moment before starting the day’s work. The results are incredible – one school opted to use meditation in lieu of detention for misbehaving students and found great success. The breathing and meditation exercises taught via the Calm app can be used for age groups ranging from kindergarten to high school.
Keep Calm and download the app.
Make A Game Out Of It
One-off meditation or breathing exercises have their place, but a long-term (and trackable) set of meditation goals might be exactly what your classroom needs. An app like Stop, Breathe & Think is ideal – this app allows you to “check in” daily, offers personalized exercises depending on how you feel, and tracks your overall mood and progress.
If you’ve got the time, why not make a game out of it? Leave the competition at the door (you don’t want students competing to see who is the “most mindful,” after all), but encourage your students to make the most of their meditation. See which students are showing the most progress – maybe they’re doing something that other students can adopt.
Get access for your classroom – Stop, Breathe & Think.
Just Take A Moment
Incorporating mindfulness into the classroom is a wonderful method for improving the overall health and well-being of our students. All it takes is a few minutes each day: dim the lights, turn on the app, and let the relaxation flow.
You’ll find that your students become less stressed, more attentive, and better behaved. It’s a win for everybody – give it a try.
Dane Sigler is a freelance writer and former teacher with a passion for the intersection of technology and education. When he’s not writing, he can usually be found motorcycling around Southern California in search of new, strange teas.