Improve Teachers’ Physiological and Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness

Improve Teachers’ Physiological and Psychological Well-Being with Mindfulness


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


“Mindfulness-based training can effectively reduce stress and burnout as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression at follow-up; it also shows promise in improving emotional regulation among teachers.” – Xiaolan Song


Stress is epidemic in the workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This often produces burnout; fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, and professional inefficacy. In a school setting, this burnout and exhaustion not only affects teachers personally, but also the students and schools, as it produces a loss of enthusiasm, empathy, and compassion. Hence, there is a need to identify methods of reducing stress and improving teachers’ psychological health. Mindfulness has been demonstrated to be helpful in reducing the psychological and physiological responses to stress and for treating and preventing burnout. This suggests that mindfulness would improve the psychological and physiological well-being of teachers,


In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness meditation training effects on quality of life, immune function and glutathione metabolism in service healthy female teachers: A randomized pilot clinical trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: ) Rodrigues de Oliveira and colleagues recruited healthy teachers and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly 2-hour sessions of either mindfulness training or lectures on applied neuroscience for educators. Mindfulness training included “mindful breathing, compassionate communication, loving-kindness, self-compassion, mindful listening, dealing with difficulties, the 3 step meditation, walking meditation, body scan with progressive relaxation, thoughts, emotions, gratitude, sounds and breathing” and home practice. The teachers were measured before and after training and 12 months later for quality of life, perceived stress, resilience, and positive and negative emotions. In addition, blood was drawn and assayed for cytokine levels, homocysteine, cysteine, and glutathione.


They found that in comparison to baseline and the lecture group, the group that received mindfulness training had significantly greater increases in physical, psychological, social, and environmental quality of life, resilience, positive emotions, cysteine, and glutathione and a significantly greater decrease in perceived stress, negative emotions, and the cytokines of IL-6 and IL-8.


These results suggest that mindfulness training improves teacher’s quality of life, and psychological well-being. Physically, it also reduced markers of inflammation and improved antioxidant systems. This suggests that mindfulness training makes teachers healthier and happier. Although not measures, this surely will help to reduce the likelihood of burnout and improve the quality of the teacher’s work in the classroom.


So, improve teachers’ physiological and psychological well-being with mindfulness.


Teachers can use mindfulness as a resource to self-regulate emotions resulting from job stress, thereby increasing their ability to focus on the students and their performances in the classrooms.” – Kelsey Milne


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available on Twitter @MindfulResearch


Study Summary


Rodrigues de Oliveira, D., Wilson, D., Palace-Berl, F., de Mello Ponteciano, B., Fungaro Rissatti, L., Sardela de Miranda, F., Piassa Pollizi, V., Fuscella, J. C., Mourão Terzi, A., Lepique, A. P., D’Almeida, V., & Demarzo, M. (2021). Mindfulness meditation training effects on quality of life, immune function and glutathione metabolism in service healthy female teachers: A randomized pilot clinical trial. Brain, behavior, & immunity – health, 18, 100372.




Despite the crucial role of educators in encourage students’ academic learning, addressing educator stress inside the classroom remains a significant challenge in the educational context. Mindfulness Meditation training (MM) has been recommended as an environmental enrichment strategy in schools to help teachers cope with stress and cultivating a state of awareness in daily life. Although studies have shown that MM can improve immune system dynamics the biological mechanism underlying glutathione metabolism in a healthy human is unclear


The purpose of this study was to determine whether MM training benefits psychological and behavioral response, immunological functions and glutathione metabolism in service healthy female teachers from public schools


We randomly assigned 76 teachers to an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Health Program for Educators (MBHPEduca) or Neuroscience for Education program (Neuro-Educa; active control group). Using the quality of life as our primary outcome, perceived stress, negative affectivity, and resilience as our secondary outcome, and pro-inflammatory cytokines and glutathione levels as our third outcome at baseline and post-intervention that occurred in public schools. Blood samples were collected for the measurement of three proinflammatory markers, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-8 (IL-8) and three GSH metabolism, including Cysteine (Cys), Homocysteine (HCys) and GSH were conducted at pre-and post-intervention, with selfreported assessments over time. Treatment effects were analyzed using generalized estimating equations (GEE) with to intention to treat


We observed statistically significant improvements to the MBHP-Educa group compared to active control in perceived stress, resilience, positive and negative affect, and quality of life after 8-weeks MM (p ​< ​0.0001). Further, the MBHP-Educa group exhibited lower circulating IL-6 production accompanied by high circulating GSH, and Cys (p ​< ​0.0001). Additional analyses indicated that enhancing quality of life through mindfulness meditation training was mediated by reducing perceived stress and serum levels of IL- 6 and increasing resilience and teachers ‘plasma GSH levels


The present study is a pilot trial with low-power and provides preliminary evidence that mindfulness meditation training help teachers to cope with stress in the school environment with an impact on the quality of life, immune function, and glutathione metabolism.


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