It's hard to dispute that teachers are some of the hardest workers out there. They wake up at the crack of dawn and work long after their students have left for the day. And now, a small new study has identified a possible tool that could help prevent burnout among educators: Mindfulness.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that mindfulness strategies helped lower stress, improve self-compassion and boost classroom organization among teachers.
The study, published in the journal Mind, Brain, and Education, included 18 teachers who took a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, where they were taught mindfulness strategies including paying special attention to breath and other sensations and thoughts. These teachers were asked to practice these strategies at home for 15 minutes each day.
Compared with teachers who didn't take the mindfulness class, the study participants experienced less stress and more self-compassion. Plus, teachers who didn't participate in the mindfulness course experienced more burnout and stress by the end of the school year.
"Breath awareness was just one part of the training, but it was something that I was able to consistently put into practice," Elizabeth Miller, a teacher who participated in the study, said in a statement. "Now I spend more time getting students to notice how they're feeling, physically and emotionally, before reacting to something. I think this act of self-monitoring was the biggest long-term benefit for both students and teachers."
Teachers are certainly not the only people who can benefit from mindfulness strategies. A 2012 study in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine showed that mindfulness helped to decrease burnout among health-care providers and boost well-being. For more benefits of mindfulness, click through the slideshow: