I dropped out of high school and never attended college. I only went to public school for 3 months. I’ve made do for the most part, cobbling together an education in the areas that are important to me.
A few years ago I decided to take a class at a community college. During my short stint at public school, I never studied and drew smiley faces out of dots on the test answer forms. I was a little nervous about taking a class without having any skills in the academic world. But I discovered that my meditation practice had already given me the skills I needed to succeed: concentration, clarity, and equanimity. I was able to sit down and study, retain and understand the information, and mindfully accept the fears and insecurities that arose, while continuing to do the work. I aced my tests and made friends with the teacher. I have no doubt that my good experience with that class was made possible by meditation. Here is an article about how mindfulness can help with the stresses of being a student.
Another recent study on the beneficial effects of a mindfulness meditation program, this time MBCT, for university students facing exams. It has been found that students, under the stressful conditions of exams and the need to successfully complete their studies, are prone to depression, anxiety, automatic thoughts, and dysfunctional attitudes. This can lead to much lower scores and under-achievement.
To test this non-clinical population, a controlled study was conducted in Iran, with participants randomly assigned either to take part in an 8-week MBCT Course or remain in a waiting list control group. The MBCT group followed the standard Mindfulness program, including 40 minutes of personal practice each day for the duration of the Course. They were assessed at 5 different points: pre-test, session 4, session 8, first follow-up (1 month) and second follow-up (6 months).
The results found that mindfulness was effective in helping the students to deal with their anxiety and depressive feelings before, during and after stressful circumstances. Furthermore, the reductions in negative automatic thoughts and dysfunctional attitudes were significant.
This is an interesting study because of the population and provides evidence that Mindfulness interventions might be of significant use in supporting well-being in students and others who are susceptible to experience anxiety and depression in real life situations as well as improving performance at crucial times.