Link: “Mindfulness in schools does not improve mental health, study finds

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/jul/12/mindfulness-schools-does-not-improve-mental-health-study

Found this article via this excellent Twitter thread(external link), which I think makes the critical point:

Mindfulness was selected as a school-based panacea because it essentially costs no money to implement, and is focused on individual actions.

Education systems, like employers, like “mindfulness” because it puts the blame for stress on the individuals experiencing it, and not on the systems that inflict it. “Oh, you can’t cope with being made to feel like a failure because your test results aren’t perfect/working 55 hours a week?! Must be because you don’t practise mindfulness enough; you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.”

I think individuals can benefit from mindfulness, if they’re earnestly willing to practise it. As the article notes, the teenagers who genuinely “engaged” with mindfulness did see some modest benefit, but the vast majority who were bored and unenthusiastic about this course they were forced to do saw no benefit at all. In fact, the article notes that the teachers’ mental health improved more than the students’, which doesn’t really surprise me, haha. But still, mindfulness is no substitute for actually overhauling systems to reduce workloads and pressure. Those who buy the the bullshit of capitalism are unwilling to do that, which is why we get fobbed off with “mindfulness” instead. It’s not really fair on mindfulness itself, which is a traditional practice that was never intended to be a magical cure-all for all the ills of capitalism. But that’s the world we live in 🤷🏻‍♀️

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.