Brief Relaxation Intervention Provides Big Results

One of the hardest professions is that of a teacher. Educators and school staff members are not only responsible for teaching children important academic lessons but are often charged with instilling moral and ethical principles and discipline. All of these factors coalesce to create character in a child but can take an emotional toll on a teacher. Teachers tend to experience burn-out at very high rates due to the stress of managing a career, a personal life, and caring for the well-being of a classroom of children. In order to minimize the stress to teachers, researchers have striven to devise coping strategies that can be easily incorporated into the busy schedule of educators and provide them with the relief they need in order to successfully carry out their responsibilities and flourish emotionally and physically.

One of the methods that has been used in previous research is that of relaxation. However, until now, most of the existing research on the benefits of relaxation has been based on long-term interventions. In a recent study conducted by Dana Kaspereen of the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Fairleigh Dickinson University at the College of Florham in New York, relaxation benefits were assessed after a 4-week intervention. For the study, Kaspereen provided 30 to 45 minutes of relaxation therapy (RT) once a week to participants comprised of high school teachers and staff members. The stress levels of the participants were assessed before and after the relaxation therapy intervention.

Compared to a control group, the RT participants had significantly less stress after the intervention. Additionally, the RT group reported higher levels of life satisfaction than the control participants. This study is among the first to demonstrate that even short-term interventions aimed to reduce stress can alleviate negative symptoms such as distress and emotional overwhelm. Overall, the participants who received RT were able to successfully navigate the demands of their profession by implementing the tools they acquired during the brief intervention. Kaspereen added, “RT can help teachers and staff members reduce anxiety and depression, decrease burnout rates, decrease perceptions of work stress, and increase overall life satisfaction.”

Kaspereen, D. (2012). Relaxation intervention for stress reduction among teachers and staff. International Journal of Stress Management. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029195

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  • Meredith

    July 27th, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I have a lot of friends who are teachers and who could really benefit from a little rest and relaxation, especially on those most tryng days. Sometimes they are so stressed out that they are never any fun to be around, and they can’t help it. They get overwhelmed by the students, the parents, and all of the other crap that they generally have to put up with in their school districts. I hope that for their benefit and that of all the thousands of teachers across the country this could be something that becomes implemented in schools all across the nation. I promise you that classroom performance would soar if the teachers are shown a little care and respect for a change.

  • Shayne

    July 28th, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    These are great results from just once a week practice. right?
    Think how much more effective this could be if teachers were given a silent place to practice on a daily basis.
    Sometimes all it takes is going somewhere for five minutes to breathe and get away from the classroom to get refocused.
    I think that if this was something that more teachers had access to they would definitely take advantage of it and the students would have a much more relaxed teacher.

  • joan c

    July 29th, 2012 at 4:08 AM

    This is a technique that is so basic but that can make such a big difference to a teacher. Give the the resources for how to better handle the stress of their job and they will in turn have the ability to give that back to their students via a better learning environment. We many times don’t give any consideration at all to how stressful the life of a teacher can be, but this article highlights that this is not an unusual problem. It is something that many teachers are living with, and RT seems like it could help many of them to get a better hold on that so that their own stress does not begin to effect the students that they are charged with teaching.

  • brett

    July 31st, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    my mom is a teacher and I understand their plight a little better than many others.there is just so much stress that teachers have.imagine being put in a position wherein you are addressed to as being ‘resposible’ for the future of a class full of pupils so to speak!there is immense pressure of keeping a job,following healthy practices on the job and also the usual family life that needs to be balanced along with all that, and it soon becomes clear that this kind of a relaxation therapy is not a luxury for our teachers but has become a necessity now!

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