Deepening Awareness: The Integration of Mindfulness Practices in United States High Schools

Mindfulness practices build an attentive awareness of the present moment and appear to support the kind of well-being school communities seek to cultivate. Currently there are increases in demands for the services offered by crisis counselors, who work to serve students’ emotional needs. Students are increasingly reporting levels of chronic sadness, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation. This is reflected nationally with high school students around the country reporting increased incidents of stress and depression. This issue represents larger educational problems, which correlate increased stress levels and ineffective teaching of coping skills with more serious problems such as increased risk of teen suicide. The problem of practice addressed by this dissertation is how schools might best integrate mindfulness practices, the learned attentive awareness of the present moment, into this void and evaluate whether this approach to increasing students’ ability to pay attention to their immediate experience, helps mitigate the problems affiliated with increased levels of stress.

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