Trending February 2024 # Hard Work Is Dead. Call It ‘Work Ethic 2.0’ # Suggested March 2024 # Top 4 Popular

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The industrial revolution didn’t arise out of nowhere, and it didn’t arise everywhere. It was made possible by the emergence of a set of personal values that came to be known as the “work ethic.”

The idea behind this meme — inconceivable 400 years ago — is that hard work is good for its own sake. Hard work makes you a better person. With hard work, our parents told us, we could grow up to become anything. Work hard, and we could get good grades, elite-school acceptance and scholarships. We could invent things, launch businesses and change the world. “Genius,” Thomas Edison told us, “is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

This industrial-age work ethic has its variants, including the “Protestant work ethic,” the “American work ethic,” and the “Asian work ethic” to name a few. The success or failure of regions, nations and subcultures has been massively influenced by the degree to which populations embrace the value of hard work. And that’s why the idea is hammered into kids in school, and lauded and rewarded in the workplace.

When the “information age” started replacing the “industrial age,” hard work seemed more important than ever. Until the 1980s, to use a computer was to program it. Silicon Valley corporate culture, from tiny startups to the massive Googleplex, emphasizes long hours and feverish work.

But since the turn of the new millennium, the nature of work has evolved to the point where hard work is becoming less important to a successful work ethic than another, more useful value: attention.

The New Work Ethic

But why is that truer now than ten or twenty years ago? Why will it be truer still ten or twenty years from now? As I wrote in May, Internet distractions evolve to become ever more “distracting” all the time — like a virus. Distractions now “seek you out.”

Distractions mask the toll they take on productivity. Everyone finishes up their work days exhausted, but how much of that exhaustion is from real work, how much from the mental effort of fighting off distractions and how much from the indulgence of distractions?

Pundits like me are constantly talking about Facebook, Twitter, blogs and humor sites, not to mention old standbys like e-mail and IM. One gets the impression that we should be “following” these things all day long, and many do. So when does the work get done? When do entrepreneurs start and manage their businesses? When do writers write that novel? When do IT professionals keep the trains running on time? When does anyone do anything?

The need for “attention,” rather than “hard work,” as the centerpiece of the new work ethic has arisen along with the rise of distractions carried on the wings of Internet protocol. In one generation, we’ve gone from a total separation of “work” from “non-work” to one in which both work and play are always sitting right in front of us.

Kids now grow up with the whole range of distractions, from big-screen TVs to video games to cell phones to PCs in their rooms. They’re addicted to screens before they even start high school. Their attention spans have been whittled down to seconds, and their expectations for constant amusement are highly developed.

It’s time we upgraded our work ethic for the age we’re living in, not our grandparents’ age. Hard work is still a virtue, but now takes a distant second place to the new determinant of success or failure in the age of Internet distractions: Control of attention.

Hard work is dead. Are you paying attention?

You're reading Hard Work Is Dead. Call It ‘Work Ethic 2.0’

What Is Metaverse? How Does It Work?

If you have heard the Metaverse term and are wondering what exactly is it, here is your answer. In this guide, we are going to discuss what is Metaverse and how does it work. In short- Metaverse can be considered as a parallel virtual universe on the Internet!

What is Metaverse and how does it work?

Metaverse is a term that is formed by combining the two different words including Meta and Universe. It is basically a digital space in which digital objects and things represent the digital people. It is hypothesized concept to combine aspects of several technologies including social media, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), online gaming,  and cryptocurrencies. And, enable people to interact with each other virtually. In layman’s terms, it is a virtual world in which users can socialize, shop, perform different activities, and learn new things.

The term “Metaverse” is credited to Author Neal Stephenson. He was the one who visualized people as avatars meeting in different virtual reality environments (e.g., realistic 3D buildings) in his 1992 science fiction novel “Snow Crash.”

In a way, Metaverse already exists in several online gaming platforms including Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox. Even apps like Microsoft Teams or Zoom can be called a form of Metaverse since a group of people come together and interact in a virtual world. However, Metaverse is a wider concept of digital space representation in order to bring people together from virtual trips to concerts and conferences.

It is being a hot topic currently as Facebook and Microsoft are rebranding the term and concept. These two most popular organizations are focusing on utilizing the concept of Metaverse to the fullest.

Is Metaverse a new concept?

No, not really. It is not really a new phenomenon, especially for gamers. People who know about Fortnite and Ready Player One can understand and comprehend the concept and its functioning easily. However, the term has just recently got the buzz since Facebook took over it and rebranded itself as “Meta.”

What is Metaverse used for?

As we already described above that metaverse is used for creating a virtual world to bring people together. Instead of viewing the content, the users will actually be into this virtual world.

Future meetings could move to the metaverse Barbados to establish the world’s first Metaverse embassy

This tiny country in the Caribbean called Barbados is all set to become the first sovereign country in building an embassy in the metaverse. It has signed an agreement on November 14 with Decentraland to establish its metaverse embassy.

Gucci to Announce Its New “Metaverse Design” Category

Roblox to come up with a new category called “Metaverse Design” in association with Gucci. The gamers can buy exclusive outfits on Roblox. Recently, a digital Gucci bag sold for US$4,000 on gaming platform Roblox indicating that virtual fashion could well become a million-dollar industry!

Games move to the Metaverse

A metaverse game is one that allows millions of players to interact with one another within a single virtual world. Roblox, Fortnite, Acknoledger, Crucible Network, Ex-Populous, Netvrk, Meta Spatial, Sandbox, etc are some of the metaverse games that are currently available.

What are the current implementations of Metaverse?

The current implementations of Metaverse largely include internet video games like Roblox, Active Worlds, Decentraland, and Fortnite. It even focuses on enhancing Virtual reality technology and Facebook has recently launched Facebook Horizon which is basically a VR world. In addition to that, several organizations are focussing on making use of metaverse in enhancing work productivity.

Read: Facts, Myths, Debate about Artificial Intelligence.

What does Zuckerberg mean by metaverse?

Mark Zuckerberg has already announced his plans of establishing the “Metaverse.” This is what he had to say about Metaverse:

I believe the metaverse is the next chapter for the internet.

An embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it.

What I think is most interesting is how these themes will come together into a bigger idea. Our overarching goal across all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.

All these quotes of Facebook CEO clearly give an idea of how Metaverse is going to be the prime focus for Facebook in the future.

Is Microsoft working on Metaverse?

Microsoft has its own plan of branding the Metaverse. It has planned to roll out Mesh for Microsoft Teams which is somewhat like a Metaverse. Several new features like Together Mode are aiming to make virtual spaces with better collaboration.

What will I be able to do in Metaverse?

Metaverse is touted to be a game-changer in creating a virtual world that brings people across the globe together. It can be used for things like virtual concerts, virtual trips, shopping, leisure activities,  and much more. The scope of Metaverse is not limited to a specific action. It is more relevant in today’s world which is affected by coronavirus pandemic and having people go through Work from Home (WFH) shifts. In such cases, employees can join in a virtual office rather than seeing individual workers on a video call grid.

As Mark Zuckerberg says:

A lot of the metaverse experience is going to be around being able to teleport from one experience to another.

The users will be able to flit between distinct virtual worlds generated by different organizations. However, big tech brands and organizations are still working on how separate virtual worlds will connect with one another. They have to agree on the same set of standards to connect different virtual worlds.

What is Metaverse Cryptocurrency?

Each metaverse platform is expected to have its own cryptocurrency or tokens that users can buy and use online on their platform. Currently, Decentraland (CRYPTO:MANA) and The Sandbox (CRYPTO:SAND) are two of the popular metaverse cryptocurrencies that can be used in their respective metaverse games

That’s it!

Now read: What is Windows Mixed Reality & why is it important to Microsoft?

Determination, Hard Work Drive Men’s Basketball Star Guard

Determination, Hard Work Drive Men’s Basketball Star Guard Cedric Hankerson rises above series of injuries to finish out BU career

Men’s basketball guard Cedric Hankerson (Questrom’16, MET’18) credits his overcoming several injuries during his college career for making him the man he is today. Photo by Jackie Ricciardi

Keeping track of BU guard Cedric Hankerson on a basketball court can be hard work: he seems to be everywhere.

During a recent game against Colgate, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Hankerson (Questrom’16, MET’18) dove headfirst onto the baseline to rescue the basketball. He missed getting it, but swiftly jumped back up, even before teammate Tyler Scanlon (CAS’20) could make his way to lend a hand. About 90 seconds later, number 21 again found himself on the floor, this time crashing past the sidelines in pursuit of his own missed free throw.

“I honestly just see myself and everyone on the court as doing whatever we can individually to help the team win,” Hankerson says. “We just need everybody to focus on their best selves, being great teammates and giving 100 percent of energy and effort for us to win.”

Men’s basketball head coach Joe Jones says that work ethic has defined Hankerson throughout his BU career. “He played very hard, even as a freshman. Upperclassmen like D. J. Irving (MET’14) would tell me how hard he played, even in pickup games. He competes. He’s just a competitor.”

In the Colgate game, Hankerson co-led the Terriers (11-10, 7-3 Patriot League) with 14 points and two steals off the bench, all the more remarkable given that he’d had to sit out the prior game with a minor groin injury. So far this season, he’s averaged a career-best 14.7 points in conference play. Few would have predicted three years ago that he’d be playing this well, or at all for that matter.

In spring 2024, Hankerson was coming off a personally successful season, with a team that had been grinding through a difficult year and ended with a 13-17 record. But Hankerson, a Patriot League All-Conference Rookie Team honoree as a freshman, had led the senior-less Terriers with 15.9 points per game and was en route to an All-Conference Second Team appearance.

At an April pickup session with current and former players, Hankerson leaped for a layup, with Dom Morris (MET’14) protecting the rim. He finished the layup, but landed wrong. He muscled through the rest of the session, but soon realized something was seriously wrong.

Hankerson had suffered an ACL and meniscus tear of the right knee, which required surgery and sidelined him for the next eight months.

“When there’s an injury like that, it’s shocking. I immediately felt so sad for him,” Jones says. “He was just coming off a great sophomore year, ready to whip it up the next season, and he went down with a major injury.”

Hankerson worked almost maniacally in rehab. “Almost every day, he was probably in the training room or the weight room depending on the stage that he was at,” says teammate Will Goff (Questrom’17, MET’19). “He had the mentality of trying to get back as early as he could, which is what he ended up doing.”

In fact, he returned to play in an early December 2024 game against UMass, a month ahead of schedule. But at practice later that week, 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward Justin Alston (CGS’14, SHA’16, MET’17) took a charge and fell backwards, crashing into Hankerson’s legs.

Result: another meniscus tear to the same knee, effectively ending his season. A medical redshirt for the injury enabled his current, fifth season.

“The second time was just, you know, all right, it just wasn’t there this season,” Hankerson says philosophically. “But I never gave up hope and I always knew that with my work ethic, with all of the amazing support system I have around here, I’d be able to come back even better and stronger.”

“Developing boys into men”

At the start of the 2024–2024 season, he was back, but he seemed more tentative on the court. After a sophomore season that had seen him with the ninth most free throw attempts in the country, he shot more than 80 percent of his field goal attempts from the three-point line.

“The hardest part is mental,” Hankerson says. “It’s just trusting in yourself, the part you injured, and the work that you put in, so you don’t fear the unpredictability of the game. That was kind of the biggest hurdle for me—trusting the fact that if I make this move, my knee will be fine. If I get hit like this, my knee will be fine.”

He and his coaches agreed to shift his role from a primary scorer to a two-way wing who contributes on both ends.

Growing up in Coral Reef, a small neighborhood in South Miami, it was perhaps inevitable that Hankerson would become a basketball player. His father, Charles, was an accomplished player at Hampton University and has more than 20 years of coaching experience, and his brother, Charles, Jr., played college basketball at Alabama and Wyoming before a professional stint in Italy.

“It was good to have that kind of foundation,” Hankerson says, “one that I feel like a lot of the kids who want to play basketball don’t have.”

Under his family’s tutelage, Hankerson became Coral Reef High School’s star basketball player while just a sophomore—a feat he would repeat four years later at BU. By senior year, the three-star prospect had garnered numerous offers from major programs like Minnesota and Oklahoma State, but Hankerson chose BU, drawn as much by the school’s academic reputation as by its basketball program.

“Education has been one of my main values ever since I can remember, so my main goal with basketball was to be able to study business,” he says. As determined off the court as he is on, he earned an undergraduate degree in finance in just three years, and this spring will complete a master’s in innovation and technology.

“It was more than basketball here,” he says. “It was developing boys into men.”

“Off the court, he really helps guys mature,” says Scanlon. “He knows how to navigate college, and he knows how to help guys if they have questions about classes—just campus life in general.”

“He was able to graduate in three years, and I wanted to do the same,” Goff says. “I did, and I did it by kind of emulating what he did—the classes he took and how he did, how he studied, and how he approached the task.”

Hankerson says that when it comes to the future, he’s keeping his options open. A possible professional career will depend largely on his physical condition at the end of the season.

“I’m not really stressed about that part too much,” he says. “I want to take it one day at a time and focus on the season right now and figure everything else out and cross that bridge when we get there.”

As he ponders what’s next, Hankerson says he’s learned an important lesson from the injuries he’s had to overcome. “You have to live your life fearlessly. If something’s meant to happen, it’s going to happen, so you might as well treat it like it’s your last day—like it’s your last game,” he says.

“It’s just been a complete blessing to be able to develop and grow into the young man I am today, and I wouldn’t change a thing about my entire experience here.”

Jonathan Chang can be reached at [email protected].

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What Is Freedom Gpt? How Does It Work?

Are you tired of being censored while conversing with AI chatbots? Do you want to explore the breadth of conversational AI freely and securely without any partiality? If yes, you must check out FreedomGPT, the AI GPT chatbot launched by the Age of AI Capital LLC.

Unlike ChatGPT, FreedomGPT is an LLM-based AI chatbot that guarantees complete privacy and neutrality without censorship. It is the perfect solution for those who want to ask questions without worrying about their content being flagged or deleted. This article will explore how FreedomGPT differs from ChatGPT and how it can revolutionize conversations.

FreedomGPT is an AI chatbot developed by the age of AI Capital LLC, an Austin-based AI Venture firm. It is an open-source Large Language Model (LLM) chatbot dedicated to privacy, neutrality, and customization. The AI GPT is based on the LLaMA and Alpaca open-source models and is developed and hosted by CellStrat AI Research Lab.

According to the creators, the AI chatbot aims to be censor-free and willing to answer any question without partiality. It is a technology that empowers users to explore the breadth of conversational AI freely and securely while uncovering new use cases.

FreedomGPT has been known to provide uncensored answers to questions that mainstream AI language models would never touch, such as tips on cleaning up crime scenes, making bombs, and even praising Hitler as a good leader. While some may find these answers troubling, it showcases the chatbot’s dedication to freedom of information.

The potential benefits are that it is an open-source AI chatbot free from censorship and safety filters. It can provide answers to sensitive topics and maintain ethical considerations. It is also available for anyone to use and join the revolution of open-source AI. However, the potential drawbacks of using FreedomGPT are that it can sometimes give offensive responses and disregard human decency. The development of GPT can also lead to limitations on freedom of speech and threaten privacy rights. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that individuals have the right to express their thoughts and ideas freely without fear of government censorship or retaliation. While FreedomGPT can be a powerful tool, it comes with potential risks and ethical considerations.

Also read: How does Auto-GPT work?

To download and install FreedomGPT, the user can follow the steps below:

Visit the FreedomGPT GitHub repository.

Extract the ZIP file to a folder on the computer.

Open the extracted folder and run the “yarn install” command to install the dependencies.

FreedomGPT is different from ChatGPT in several ways. Here are some of the key features that set it apart from its competitors:

1. Censorship-Free AI

Unlike ChatGPT, FreedomGPT is completely censorship-free. It guarantees that all conversations with the AI chatbot are private and secure. You can ask any question without worrying about your content being flagged or deleted.

2. Desktop Local Execution

Another unique feature of FreedomGPT is that it can run locally on any computer without internet connectivity or reliance on third-party servers. This ensures complete privacy and security of your conversations.

3. Customization

Age of AI Capital LLC has also announced that they will release an open-source version of the AI GPT, allowing individuals and companies to fully customize it to help with specific high-stakes and confidential workflows. This will be a game-changer for businesses that rely on AI chatbots for their day-to-day operations.

In conclusion, FreedomGPT is an AI chatbot revolutionising how we converse with chatbots. It offers complete privacy, neutrality, and customization, unlike its competitors. If you’re tired of being censored while conversing with AI chatbots, you must check it out . It is the perfect solution for those who want to explore the breadth of conversational AI freely and securely while uncovering new use cases. So what are you waiting for? Try out FreedomGPT today and revolutionize your conversations!

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What Is Bluetooth And How Does It Work?

The name Bluetooth has been synonymous with connected technology for years now and for good reason. When we need two devices to communicate with one another, Bluetooth is our go-to and has been for the better part of the last two decades. While Bluetooth is an incredibly valuable function that we increasingly take for granted, what is Bluetooth exactly? You may be wondering what it is and how does Bluetooth work in today’s increasingly connected world. Let’s find out.

What Is Bluetooth?

Named after a 10th century Scandinavian King, Harald Bluetooth, the history of modern day Bluetooth traces back to 1994. Ericsson, a Swedish telecommunications giant, saw the promise of using Bluetooth as a wireless connection to connect earphones with mobile devices. After testing, five companies (Ericsson, Nokia, IBM, Toshiba and Intel) formed the Bluetooth SIG in 1998 to help monitor the growth of Bluetooth. By the end of 1998, Bluetooth had more than 400 companies and more recently had more than 30,000 members. 

On a more technical side, Bluetooth uses the same 2.4GHz technology as other wireless technologies. Originally designed to work over distances of 10 meters, Bluetooth can generally handle a network of two to eight devices. It’s through this technology that you can send a page from your computer to your printer in another room without a cable. Inside each Bluetooth hardware is a governor of sorts that allows it to properly determine the type of range available. In this modern day, there are three types of Bluetooth classes available: 

Class 1 is the most powerful and can operate up to 100 meters or 330 feet.

Class 2 is the most common and retains the original’s standard of 10 meters or 33 feet.

Class 3 is the least powerful and generally is only good for distances of 1 meter or 3.3 feet.

How Does Bluetooth Work?

As noted above, Bluetooth works in the 2.4GHz frequency range and sends 79 different bands of radio waves inside this frequency. As data is sent, Bluetooth divides all of your data into smaller, more transferable packets. Once the packets have been divided, they are then sent individually over those 79 bands, all while being smart enough to not get clogged up anywhere. Of course, all of this happens within microseconds with almost no lag between the two connected devices.

Bluetooth Versus Wi-Fi

Unlike your Wi-Fi or 3G/4G/5G connections, Bluetooth doesn’t use any data. That’s good news for people in today’s world who connect their smartphones to their cars and stream music. While the actual streaming of music uses data, connecting to your car via Bluetooth uses no Internet data and has minimal impact on battery life.

Different Bluetooth Types

As of 2023, there are two different types of Bluetooth technology available for consumer use. The first is Bluetooth Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate, and the second is Low Energy. The former (BR/EDR) must always be paired. On the other hand, Low Energy devices can require a trusted relationship, but it is not always a requirement. Introduced with Bluetooth 4.0, Low Energy is great for electronics such as wearables, headphones or other low power devices where battery life is at a premium. As of today, there are five different versions of Bluetooth available: 

Bluetooth Classic: This includes versions 1.0 – 3.0.

When Bluetooth 1.0 first launched, it was capped at data speeds of less than 1 Mbps with a range no greater than 10 meters. 

Bluetooth 2.0 took things up a notch by increasing speeds upwards of 2 to 3 Mbps.

Bluetooth 3.0 included the use of 802.11 tech, which helped increase data transfers up to 24 Mbps. 

Bluetooth 4.0 is the most common type of Bluetooth available today. Data speeds are limited to 1 Mbps.

Bluetooth 5.0 is an improvement on the Low Energy side by increasing data rate and range. It can work in a variety of transmission ranges including 125 Kbps, 500 Kbps, 1 Mbps and 2 Mbps. The reduction in data rate had the positive effect of being able to increase data range to a whopping 240 meters. Conversely, the faster transmission of 2 Mbps is significantly more limited and is best suited for short range use.

The latest version Bluetooth 5.1 introduces better transmission technology and range. Read more about Bluetooth 5.1 here.

Why Use Bluetooth?

Why not? The usage of Bluetooth has expanded to more than just connecting earphones and mobile phones. There are already plenty of uses for Bluetooth:

While printers have generally relied on Wi-Fi, that type of connection can be shaky. Bluetooth enabled printers allow you to print from your phone or computer without cable, and even when Wi-Fi is offline. 

Smartwatches and wearables rely heavily on Bluetooth connectivity. These devices have opened the door to an entire new world of tracking workouts and can share data directly back to your phone for syncing back to a health app.

Most laptops come with Bluetooth and allows you to connect to a Bluetooth keyboard and mice.

Wireless gaming is done via Bluetooth across the Xbox, PS4 and smartphone worlds. Connecting a PS4 or Xbox One controller to your iPhone or Android device is all handled through Bluetooth. 

Need to get a Wi-Fi signal somewhere you only have cellular service? Connect your smartphone to your computer through Bluetooth so it can be enabled as a hotspot. 

These few examples only scratch the surface of how many different types of electronics you are using today with Bluetooth. It’s so deeply integrated and connected, that you can see it’s something relatively new to the electronics world. 

Final Thoughts

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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Mindfulness Is All The Rage—But Does It Work?

Are your students stressed out, tired, and unable to focus? They’re not alone. The average eighth-grade student now spends over 25 hours a year taking standardized tests , while the average high school student reports feeling stressed 80 percent of the time .

Even kindergartners are feeling more academic pressure , spending less time on art and music and more on math, reading, and assessment compared with the late 1990s. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, childhood stress can lead to permanent changes in brain structure and function, increasing the likelihood of learning difficulties, memory problems, and chronic diseases in adult life. Meanwhile, a 2013 report by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that the negative effects of stress persist into the high school years: 35 percent of teens lie awake at night because of stress, cutting into critical sleep time and increasing the likelihood that they’ll have concentration problems or experience feelings of sadness and depression.

Studies suggest that the amount of stress matters, and can impact student academic performance as well. While low levels of stress can boost memory formation, moderate and high levels of stress can impair a student’s ability to retrieve memories, making it more challenging to pass tests, write papers, or make a presentation in class.

Can mindfulness—a nonreligious form of meditation that teaches students to breathe, focus, and center themselves in the present moment—help reduce any of the detrimental effects of classroom stress or hectic student schedules? Can it help students learn, leading to gains in academic achievement? Many schools are betting on it, integrating relatively simple mindfulness techniques into the school day.

Mindfulness Reduces Stress

For Rebecca McLelland-Crawley’s middle school students, stress was becoming a major problem. When the school district surveyed students a few years ago on their stress levels, the responses were staggering.

“More than 80 percent of the kids at our school feel stressed, most or all of it bad. It’s normal to feel stressed—but it’s not normal for an 11-, 12-, and 13-year-old to feel toxic levels of stress. So that was how classroom mindfulness came about,” said McLelland-Crawley.

To address the problem, her students created their own mindfulness group, NüYü, to learn more about stress and to share healthy coping strategies with their school. Every week, they encourage other students to participate in the Panther “Pause” Challenge, a series of stress-reducing lessons and activities. NüYü students recently held a wellness fair for over 200 parents, students, and community members, at which they introduced yoga stations, stress balls, and glitter jars to participants. They also held workshops on mindful eating and explained the science behind mindfulness.

Now in its second year, the program is expanding to include sixth- and seventh-grade students at the school.

The research suggests that McLelland-Crawley’s students are on the right path—mindfulness can be an effective strategy to help students deal with stress. In 2014, a Dutch study found that elementary school students who participated in 30-minute mindfulness sessions twice a week for six weeks exhibited lower levels of stress, higher levels of well-being, and better behavior than their peers.

Mindfulness can be especially helpful for children who experience stress resulting from community violence, poverty, substance use, and trauma. In a 2024 study, students from two low-income, urban middle schools participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program and experienced a range of mental and behavioral benefits, from lower levels of stress and depression to a more positive mood and better ability to cope with challenging situations.

Mindfulness Boosts Academic Performance

In addition to boosting students’ emotional and psychological well-being, mindfulness can yield academic benefits by increasing students’ ability to self-regulate and focus.

Annie O’Shaughnessy, a high school English teacher in Vermont, spends 10 minutes at the start of class every Monday practicing mindfulness with her students. Using a combination of mindfulness videos and breathing techniques, she helps students handle the stress and anxiety they typically experience during school.

“I teach mindfulness every single year in English class. After teaching it, I can go up to a kid who is about to give a presentation, and I can see that he’s in amygdala hijack mode. He’s forgotten what he’s going to say, and he wants to leave. So I tell him, ‘So now it’s time to do the breathing.’ So he does the square breathing exercise, where he breathes in, holds for four [seconds], breathes out, holds for four. And he’s then able to give his presentation,” she said.

As improbable as it sounds, taking a few seconds to breathe and focus can translate into academic benefits. In 2024, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that fourth- and fifth-grade students that participated in a 12-week mindfulness program had higher levels of attention, better retention, and 15 percent higher math grades than their peers. This was on top of psychological benefits such as lower levels of depression and increased feelings of optimism.

A 2024 study further explored the connection between mindfulness and cognitive benefits, looking at middle school students in a four-week mindfulness program. Compared with their peers, these students showed significant improvements in working memory capacity. “These results are consistent with the notion that the practice of meditation—which requires sustained attention while simultaneously redirecting attention back to the current experience—is closely related to the function of working memory,” researchers wrote in their study.

Academic benefits have been found for children as early as preschool. A 2024 study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined a 12-week Kindness Curriculum program that included mindfulness exercises in addition to kindness practices such as empathy, gratitude, and sharing. Compared with their peers, the preschoolers participating in the program earned higher report card grades, in addition to showing more empathy, kindness, and willingness to share.

“Mindfulness is a great tool for learning,” explained O’Shaughnessy. “If I want my students to learn, I need their prefrontal cortex, I need their neocortex. I need those parts of their brain online, and in most grades, those parts of their brain aren’t going to be online until they’ve relaxed and done some mindful activities.”

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