As Health Coaches, we know how rampant stress and anxiety are in people’s lives. Research shows that anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year. Unfortunately, anxiety is also prevalent in school-age children. Students are more anxious today than ever before, and there’s an increasing pressure to excel and achieve. One in eight children is affected by an anxiety disorder, and the National Institute of Mental Health states that 31.9% of adolescents have some form of an anxiety disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old and untreated children “are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.”
The good news? Schools across the globe are exploring options for reducing and eliminating emotional stress, and more and more are acknowledging that yoga and mindfulness may be effective in helping children manage anxiety in school.
Substantial research has shown the many benefits of yoga, including improved sleep quality, decreased stress, diminished depression and anxiety, and improved heart health.
More recently, scientists have explored how yoga in schools can affect childhood development. According to a study conducted at Tulane University, third graders who engaged in yoga and mindfulness practices at school showed a decrease in anxiety and an overall improvement in their productivity, emotional health, and general well-being.
Schools are beginning to implement yoga, conscious breathing, and mindfulness into their curriculums. Doull Elementary School in Denver, Colorado, replaced detention with yoga and an elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland, replaced detention with a mindful moment room, where rather than being disciplined for misbehavior, students participate in mindfulness practices. Both schools reported significant decreases in the number of suspensions as well as noticeable improvements in student behavior and emotional management.
Our mission at IIN is to play a crucial role in improving health and happiness and, through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world. Imagine the possibilities if our society reinvented the way we educate children by introducing yoga and mindfulness into our schools. Not only would schoolchildren better understand and manage their emotions, but they would be equipped with a powerful skill that can be shared with friends and family and support students throughout their lifetimes.