Two recently-published studies claim that mindfulness training can help children cope with stress in school. The first study was small, with only 99 middle-school children participating. Half of them received 8 weeks of mindfulness-based interventions, while the other half received active-control interventions. The mindfulness group self-reported lower stress, anger, and sadness. The other group reported no changes in stress. Approximately 40 of the students took part in brain imaging before and after the 8 week period. Those children who participated in mindfulness training showed lowered activity in the amygdala (the part of the brain associated with stress) when viewing frightening images.
The second study did not involve training, but simply measured mindfulness in more than 2,000 students who filled out a written survey. The researchers compared the mindfulness-related answers to the students’ grades. Those students whose answers indicated more mindfulness tended to have higher grades and fewer disciplinary problems. This second survey shows only correlation, so there may be other reasons that the conditions coexist. Nevertheless, the study poses interesting possibilities.
You can find more information about mindfulness at the Mindfulness in Schools Project, Mindful Schools, or the Mindful website.