Evidence That It Works
“Bearing witness” is often considered a contemplative practice that can help cultivate a mindful way of being in the world.
While research on the effects of mindfulness on children is still in the early stages, a 2016 review of 12 studies suggests some promising outcomes for young children relative to attention, self-regulation, and motor skills. A 2014 meta-analysis that focuses on 24 studies of K-12 students showed demonstrated changes in students’ attention and resilience to stress, including positive emotions, self-esteem and self-concept, and well-being.
Why Does It Matter?
In a world of distractions, few of us take the time to absorb a photo, a work of art, or something extraordinary and awe-inspiring, letting the experience wash over us and then noticing our thoughts, beliefs, or emotions as a result.
Providing students with an experience of bearing witness allows them to see what it feels like to stop for a moment and see the world in a different way—a practice that can help to navigate daily challenges and also to engage more deeply and meaningfully with this beautiful thing called “life.”