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Several studies have highlighted the positive effects of mindfulness on children. Defined as encouraging an open-minded attention at the present moment, mindfulness training in schools has been associated with enhanced attention, behavior, and improved mental health in children.

App-based mindfulness beneficial to children

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted traditional education in 2020, a team of MIT researchers considered the potential of remote, app-based mindfulness practices to yield similar advantages. Their study, conducted between 2020 and 2021, revealed that children who used a mindfulness app for 40 days at home experienced enhancements in various aspects of mental health. These improvements encompassed reduced stress levels and a decrease in negative emotions like loneliness and fear.

The findings from this study indicate that remote, app-based mindfulness interventions may offer mental health benefits, which is significant considering their potential to reach a larger number of children compared to traditional school-based approaches.

Scientific evidence strongly supports the positive impact of mindfulness on mental well-being in individuals of various age groups, according to a study led by John Gabrieli, a professor at MIT, recently published in the journal Mindfulness. Gabrieli’s lab also found that children with higher mindfulness levels exhibited greater emotional resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isaac Treves, an MIT graduate student and lead study author, suggests that while we can’t control the extent of COVID’s impact, mindfulness can aid in our response and interpretation of the situation.

High mindfulness has no link to negative emotions and pandemic impact

In response to the 2020 pandemic, Gabrieli’s lab studied mindfulness’s impact on schoolchildren facing isolation. Their research, published in PLOS One, assessed whether mindfulness could enhance resilience in kids dealing with pandemic-induced emotions like frustration and loneliness. They evaluated 8-10-year-olds’ mindfulness, pandemic impact, anxiety, depression, stress, and negative emotions.

Results showed high-mindfulness children had no significant link between pandemic impact and negative emotions, but low-mindfulness children displayed a strong correlation between COVID-19 impact and negative feelings.

In this study, children who weren’t trained in mindfulness exhibited natural mindfulness tendencies. Results indicated that highly mindful children were less prone to negative emotions and self-blame during the pandemic.