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Mindfulness training 'gathering momentum in UK schools'

26/10/2016 Joanna

A growing number of UK schools are using mindfulness techniques to help students relax, concentrate and free their minds from distraction.

According to a report from the Guardian, this mental control technique - which combines breathing exercises, discussions about meditation and simple stretching movements - is moving from independent schools to a rising number of state schools, both at the primary and secondary level.

The principle behind such programmes is to provide students with a means of centring their thoughts and escaping from the confusion and stress caused by an increasingly connected world, thereby improving their mental health and overall functioning.

Dr Richard Graham, a consultant psychiatrist at the Nightingale hospital in London, professed his support for the concept of mindfulness in schools, saying: "Young people are living in a very distracting world, where the fear of missing out has become the norm. They're struggling with multitasking."

Data from the Mindfulness in Schools Project reveals that there are 1,350 teachers being trained in the technique this year - double the number taught last year, and up from 90 in 2011. It means that nationally, more than 4,000 teachers are now qualified.

Meanwhile, a new research project by the Oxford Mindfulness Centre is being organised to assess the mental health benefits of mindfulness among 6,000 children over the next six years, in order to develop a clearer picture of its benefits. The UK government is monitoring this research to see whether a case can be made for adding mindfulness to the national curriculum.

Meanwhile, Richard Burnett, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Schools Project, said: "It won't definitively prove that mindfulness is a silver bullet for kids' anxiety. But it will tell us what is working and what isn't."

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