13 reasons why high school students need to be trained in mindfulness

May 9, 2017, Vancouver, BC - Mindfulness training is prevalent in grade schools across Canada but those entering their final years of high school likely missed the boat according to e-mental health specialists MindWell-U. The Vancouver-based mindfulness consultancy says having grades 11 and 12 students trained in mindfulness is critical to their future success.   

“If you’re in grade seven or eight you may have learned mindfulness in school but if you’re in a higher grade you likely didn’t get taught this important life skill,” says Dr. Geoff Soloway, Co-Founder and Chief Training Officer at MindWell-U. The company provides e-mental health training to schools, colleges and universities across North America as well as to businesses, government agencies, hospitals and first responders. 

“Mindfulness needs to be taught to students before they leave high school so they have this mental health tool in their back pocket that they can draw on when necessary,” says Soloway. “Mindfulness is an important skill to lower stress, anxiety and depression, as well as improve performance, increase engagement and promote pro-social behaviour, all things students need to thrive out there on their own.”

“Our grade 11 and 12 students are in the final days of MindWell-U’s 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge and the students have benefited enormously,” says Daneen Dymond, Physical Educator and Yoga Teacher, Fredericton High School. “Since the Challenge is all online and just five minutes a day, it’s been easy to incorporate the curriculum into class time. We start each day with a Take 5 mindfulness practice then review the day’s videos and podcasts together. The content is short and sharp which keeps the students’ attention.” 

Teachers and parents at the high school are also taking the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge so they’ll share a common skill set and language with the students.

Student comments on learning mindfulness include:

•    “My mum and I both agree that hardwiring happiness is very important. We made a deal that we are going to incorporate Take 5 into our daily life even when the Challenge is done.” – Morgan B. Grade 12

•    “I am enjoying the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge mainly because it has helped me put things in perspective which has reduced my stress.” – Bradley M. Grade 12

•    “I am really enjoying the Challenge. I am coping with anxiety better, focusing my thoughts on positive aspects of my life, and not nearly as susceptible to other people’s negative energy.” – Lindsay H. Education Assistant

Dr. Soloway’s 13 reasons why high school students need to be trained in mindfulness:

1.    Promotes mental health
2.    Increases resilience which helps you bounce back
3.    Lowers test stress
4.    Increases happiness
5.    Teaches self-care and acts as a buffer to self-harm
6.    Increases pro-social behaviour
7.    Improves collaboration, teambuilding & conflict resolution
8.    Increases empathy & emotional intelligence
9.    Strengthens focus and attention
10.    Improves self-regulation
11.    Strengthens important areas of the teenage brain still developing (ie the pre-frontal cortex)
12.    Can be applied to extracurriculars (sports, music, arts etc). 
13.    Increases the willingness to help others (moves thinking from me to we)