Students today are more stressed, have more distractions, and often don’t have an effective outlet to cope with daily tension.

It’s all too easy for teenagers to turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, and the media as a way of escaping the pressure of being a young adult.

Meditation is a simple and effective practice to help reduce stress, and been shown to have many other positive psychological effects.

So, would it be valuable for school districts to integrate meditation programs in their schools?

There are many schools around the nation that have already done so, and it appears that meditation can provide a positive outlet for youth.

Here are a few ways meditation can have a positive impact.

Research has show meditation improves academic performance and results in improvement in intelligence.

This may be in part due to enhancing attention and concentration, as well as providing a method to cope with stress and anxiety that can impact academic performance.

As well, certain types of mediation have been shown to alter brain activity to improve executive functions involved with attention, focus, planning, and alertness.

Particularly, Transcendental Meditation (TM) helps the brain function in a more orderly and coherent fashion leading to improved creativity, greater emotional maturity, and stress reduction.

The emotional and mental benefits of meditation not only improve academic performance but can lead to healthier interpersonal relationships. Mediation offers a way to train the mind toward optimal emotional states, such as compassion, loving-kindness, joy, and empathy.

With less stress and agitation schools will see a decline in aggressive behavior and a more positive school environment.

Overall, if these social and emotional improvements lead to greater school satisfaction for students this will have recurring benefits of its own.

Research has shown that the level of school-satisfaction is related to improved academic performance and decreases in behavior problems.

Meditation and mindfulness training programs are growing in several school districts around the nation, and students generally like participating in meditation.

However, many parents feel that mediation is connected to religion and view it as an ancient, mystical practice having no place in public schools. Proponents would claim that it is unrelated to religion and is simply a practice that offers physiological benefits, just the same as yoga or cardiovascular exercise.

Regardless of your view, if students are being pushed to work harder and expected to compete in the ever increasing globalized world we live in, it would helpful to provide them with a tool to manage enhance emotional and mental faculties.

What do you think? If meditation and effective tool? Are there other more effective alternatives to help students manage stress and anxiety?

Photo credit: jessebezz