Embracing Mindfulness and Spirituality to Enhance Well-Being and Resilience in Teachers and Students

Embracing Mindfulness and Spirituality to Enhance Well-Being and Resilience in Teachers and Students

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-6371-0.ch014
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This chapter begins by drawing attention to the national emergency and global crisis facing the mental health and well-being of teens and teachers, and the lingering hesitation to adopt spirituality into the mainstream public education system despite the neuroprotective evidence of spirituality against depression and suicide. Next, the interconnectedness of attention, mindfulness, and spirituality, and their amalgamating impact on one's overall well-being and resilience will be shared. Two programs that address both mindfulness and spirituality of students and teachers will be thoroughly discussed, as well as additional strategies for incorporating relational spirituality into classrooms and school communities.
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Since early 2020, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported alarming data among youth and suicide deaths and trends. The number of youth that have committed suicide is five times more than the number of youth we have lost due to COVID (2022). In a recent national survey, out of over 33,000 college students across the country, 83% reported experiencing severe stress, anxiety, and depression that has negatively impacted their academic performance and two-thirds of college students are struggling with loneliness and feeling isolated (Eisenberg et al., 2023). Emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts by girls 12 to 17 jumped 51% compared with 2019 (Yard et al., 2021). The Federal Health Agency reported that in the first half of 2021, more than 4 in 10 high school students surveyed said they had “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” in the prior year, which was one of isolation and school closures for most teens (CDC, 2021). “These data echo a cry for help,” CDC acting Principal Deputy Director Dr. Debra Houry, M.D., M.P.H. said in a 2022 news release, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created traumatic stressors that have the potential to further erode student’s mental wellbeing. Our research shows that surrounding youth with the proper support can reverse these trends and help our youth now and, in the future,” (CDC, 2022). But mental health experts say schools, which is sometimes the only place troubled youth can look to for help, are not prepared to address the growing adolescent mental health crisis (Vestal, 2022).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Resilience: A process of intentionally applying strategies and mindsets to adapt to challenges and life and growth through them.

Well-Being: The consistent employment of strategies and mindsets that allow you to be as well (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) as possible despite the circumstances of life.

Mindfulness: Intentionally paying attention to the present moment on time and without judgement, letting go and practicing non-attachment to thoughts.

Spirituality: An awakened awareness and way of living connected to a higher power, nature, and other humans. You live in faith that you are being held and guided to live your life more fully and fulfill your greater purpose.

Trauma-Informed: You engage with others in teaching or in interactions with a realization and recognition that everyone has experienced trauma to a certain degree and you respond with non-judgement, respect, patience, and trustworthiness to do all that you can to resist re-traumatizing the individual.

Mental Health: Reflects a sense of well-being, or the capacity to enjoy and deal with the difficulties of life.

Awakened Awareness: Attuned attention to interconnectivity and oneness of all of life, nature, and the transcendent.

Interconnectedness: The acknowledgement and appreciation that we are all connected that everyone’s actions impact other humans, animals, and the environment in which we live.

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