The Changing Minds Program has just completed our fourth semester at W.E.B. DuBois High School in Brooklyn. Working with lead scientist, Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, two classes of students who had been studying the science of mindfulness conducted research on themselves and their classmates. The students gave a final Powerpoint presentation to their peers, sharing an overview of the practice of mindfulness and how contemplative practices — utilizing the principle of neuroplasticity — have been shown to change and benefit the brain and brain/body connection, physically and psychologically.
The students ended their presentation by sharing the findings of their research with their peers.
The students in the experimental group engaged in a variety of mindfulness practices for 3-5 minutes daily over the semester. These included focused-attention on: the breath, sound, taste, and sight, as well as open-awareness, walking meditation and loving-kindness practice.
There was a control group that did nothing differently.
Both groups took pre and post assessments on rumination, negative emotions and resilience.
The students who practiced mindfulness, as opposed to the control group who did nothing differently, showed significant improvement in positive emotion.
Anecdotally as well, while some of our skeptics remained on the fence, the majority of students who practiced reported experiencing positive change related to coping with stress, improved focus and/or feeling more resilient.