elementary mindfulnessMindfulness meets minimalism. Elementary mindfulness in practice:

“Sometimes when I get mad I just breathe deep… I just, like I picture me being in a certain place I like… I think of being a bigger person and doing something maybe a wise man would do…”

All clutter is removed. Mindfulness clears a path. Together, mindfulness and minimalism are collaborative partners.

Did an experienced leader express the words above? No. A wise 5th grader did. Mindfulness in the classroom is producing positive results.

Classroom wisdom like this is what we can use in leadership practices today. Mindfulness produces results and gains quiet momentum.

Elementary Mindfulness

Two stories in two cities.

The first story takes place in Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman Elementary School. Rather than detention, the school is teaching mindfulness with constructive impact, and the practice is seeping into homes. Holistic Life Foundation co-founder Andres Gonzalez said:

“We’ve had parents tell us, ‘I came home the other day stressed out, and my daughter said, “Hey, Mom, you need to sit down. I need to teach you how to breathe.”‘”

Mindful practices working in school begin to appear in homes. A smart move.

The second story takes place in Davis Elementary School in Carrolton, Texas. Lisa Williams, the school’s principal, implemented mindfulness-based practices as a way to handle stress and regain focus:

“We are at a high poverty school and the students can have lots of trauma. I know that can make it difficult to learn.”

Mindfulness helps prepare students to focus and learn.

Lynsi Christiansen, a fourth-grade math teacher at Davis Elementary, adds:

“It’s a language we can share and it helps build a sense of community.”

The result – Less conflict between students. Other benefits:

  • Better self-regulation
  • More impulse control
  • Less stress
  • Enhanced readiness to learn

Sounds like a great culture!

Mindfulness Enters Corporations

Corporations can learn a lot from elementary schools it seems. Mindfulness is not just for kids; leaders can use mindfulness for positive results, too.

Aetna is a prime example of mindfulness done right. More than 13,000 of Aetna’s employees have participated in a company-supported yoga or meditation practice, and Aetna is now selling these programs to companies under health insurance contract with them. There are many reasons why Aetna is engaging in mindfulness practices. A big reason is the results. To Aetna’s added credit, they are actively measuring the mindful results:

  • 28 percent reduction in their stress levels
  • 20 percent improvement in sleep quality
  • 19 percent reduction in pain
  • More effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity for each participating individual, which Aetna estimates is worth $3,000 per employee per year

Sounds like a great culture!

Mindfulness centers work, produces results, and enhances the quality of work experiences. A minimalist moment clears the clutter to do the work that matters in more productive ways.

Minimalism and Mindfulness

Minimalism and mindfulness are intersecting circles of influence. While minimalism creates the space to focus, mindfulness guides our presence in worthy ways. Leading from a minimalist perspective delivers an opportunity to be a more mindful leader. We need to embrace both.

While minimalism creates the space to focus, mindfulness guides our presence in worthy ways.



Just as in classrooms, teachers are clearing a space to practice mindfulness, business leaders need to continue to do the same. We need more mindful examples in business.

We need to consider the answers to these questions:

  • Are you ready to build a sense of community and results in your workplace? What clutter can you clear on Monday?
  • Are you ready to sit down and breath? What mindful workplace practices will you begin?
  • In what ways will you exemplify being a mindful teacher?