Evidence That It Works
Mindful breathing, a key practice featured in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, is a widely used method for cultivating mindfulness that supports emotion regulation, nonreactivity, and decentering (viewing your experiences with increased objectivity) while alleviating symptoms of depression.
MBSR, which has been adapted and studied over the last several decades, includes other practices like the body scan, mindful walking, and mindful yoga. Research tells us that these practices help people to manage chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and symptoms of distress.
In fact, teachers who practice mindfulness for just a few weeks report a range of positive outcomes, including a decrease in burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression. They also experience a range of physical health benefits, including better sleep quality.
Why Does It Matter?
Mindful breathing helps us to simply notice (without judgment) our thoughts and feelings while gently redirecting our attention back to our breath. If we practice this regularly, we learn to become less reactive to mental events as well as real-life events.
With time, we can then learn to respond more constructively to stressful experiences and interpersonal conflicts at school and at home. Teachers who practice mindfulness report reduced interpersonal problems and more emotionally supportive relationships with the students in their classrooms.