The Mindfulness Initiative
The Mindfulness Initiative is a comprehensive program designed to bring formal training in mindfulness and stress-response relaxation methods to BHS faculty and students, with the intent of integrating these practices into our ways of teaching and learning. The program aims to provide faculty and students with a “toolbox” of strategies for identifying and managing stress. Beyond stress reduction, these strategies can boost focus, improve self-regulation, nourish resiliency, and build empathy.
BHS has partnered with experts in the field from the Benson-Henry Mind Body Institute at Mass General Hospital as well as with Mindful Schools, an organization that provides training in Mindfulness to adults and teaches them to use it with youth. During the 2015-16 school year, eight BHS teachers and administrators received training and began to teach stress-management and mindfulness in Junior Advisory. Twelve additional faculty members will receive training this year, and mindfulness practice will be folded into Sophomore Advisory as well as MCAS preparation.
The goal of this project is not to create a stress-free environment. Some stress is good; it can act as a motivator and actually improve performance. But we know that high levels of stress inhibit learning. Developing practical skills for healthy stress responses will help BHS students find the “sweet spot” of stress that nourishes intellectual and emotional resilience and growth.