Modern Mindfulness – A Brief History & the Benefits
Modern mindfulness is about 40 years new, but mindfulness practices are nothing new! They have been a part of cultures across the world for a long time.
One type of modern mindfulness is the Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs), which have nearly 35 years of research & development supporting them, and have moved progressively through three large institutional cultures: health care, mental health, & education. The timeline below gives some important milestones in this progression.
- Healthcare (1979): Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn develops Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Mental Health (1992): Development of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
- Education (early 2000s) First round of formalized mindfulness in education interventions training teachers in self-care, resiliency and wellness and training students in mindfulness techniques
- Mental Health (2004): MBCT endorsed by the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
- Education (2007): Inaugural Mindful Schools in-class program
- Education (2010): More serious research designs initiated. Publication of first meta-analyses of mindfulness in education
- Health Care (2013): MBSR in more than 200 medical centers, hospitals and clinics; more than 1,300 published studies show symptom reductions across a wide range of diagnoses as well as neurobiological impacts
- Education (2015): Students and teachers worldwide have access to mindfulness programs
Benefits of Modern Mindfulness
Solid scientific evidence suggests that mindfulness interventions improve attention, self-control, emotional resilience, recovery from addiction, memory and immune response. Here’s a summary of benefits particularly relevant to educators:
- Attention: Strengthens our “mental muscle” for bringing focus back where we want it, when we want it.
- Emotional Regulation :Observing our emotions helps us recognize when they occur, to see their transient nature, and to change how we respond to them.
- Adaptability: Becoming aware of our patterns enables us to gradually change habitual behaviors wisely.
- Compassion: Awareness of our own thoughts, emotions, and senses grows our understanding of what other people are experiencing.
- Calming: Breathing and other mindfulness practices relax the body and mind, giving access to peace independent of external circumstances.
- Resilience: Seeing things objectively reduces the amount of narrative we add to the world’s natural ups and downs, giving us greater balance.
This article was excerpted from Mindful Schools‘ website.