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CORRELATION OF MINDFUL BREATHING PROGRAM AND THE LEVEL OF

SELF-AWARENESS AND STRESS MANAGEMENT OF


GRADE TEN STUDENTS

Carie Justine P. Estrellado


Secondary School Teacher, Tayabas Western Academy, Candelaria, Quezon
cariejustine.estrellado@gmail.com
09772860042

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine the relationship of the practice of school-based
mindful breathing program on the self-awareness and stress management skills of the
students. The subject of study were 232 students enrolled in Grade Ten level at Tayabas
Western Academy, Candelaria, Quezon, school year 2018-2019. This study was
descriptive correlation design and utilized self-made questionnaire and undergone series
of validation and test of reliability and consistency with the use of Chronbach’s (α) alpha
on the mindful breathing program, self-awareness, stress management skills. The
gathered data were analysed using mean, standard deviation and the Pearson Product
Moment Correlation of Coefficient. The findings revealed that the mindful breathing
program are ‘highly practiced’ by the institution. Likewise, students gained ‘high’ level of
self-awareness in terms on their academic, class behavior, and school values. By the same
token, respondents have ‘high’ stress management and ‘very often’ confront stress
through their physical, social, emotional, and mental coping avenues. Moreover, there is a
positive significant relationship between monitoring and the self-awareness in terms of
class behaviour. The findings suggest that through the practice of mindful breathing
program students elevate their self-awareness in their behaviour in class. Furthermore,
the results depict in helping students to expand the repertoire of skills for stress
management. This study hopes to contribute vital knowledge for curriculum planners to
consider the incorporation of mindful breathing as an educational intervention program
for students.

Key words: mindful breathing program, correlation, self-awareness, stress, stress


management
Background of the Study
Education has extended on persons’ growth from every detail on how learning
will be acquired and up to the transformative aspect of a being. But what is intriguing is
that man’s contributing capability of learning and style could be observed in oneself, and
it is the process that humans do every single moment – breathing.

Observing the breathing process is one of the easiest, simplest ways to start
practicing mindfulness. Breathing mindfully has been described as “the awareness that
emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and
nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience of breathing” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
Although it is common from the earlier practice of mindfulness in the field of medical
science, a growing interest attunes practitioners to catenate in the formal school. As
Simbulan (2016) reiterated, numerous positive physiological and psychological claims
and western popularizations lead an increasing number of studies incorporating
mindfulness interventions in schools. Such as reviews provided by Mieklejohn, et al.
(2012), that mindfulness showcase improvements in working memory, attention,
academic skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem, as well as self-
reported improvements in mood and decreases in anxiety, stress, and fatigue.

According to Cloutier (2011) the incorporation of mindful breathing and its


application can help students to cope daily stressors and demoting anxiety. She
emphasized also that mindful breathing “is an experience of relaxing the body, quieting
the mind, and awakening the spirit. It encourages a deepening of consciousness or
awareness and facilitates deeper understanding of self and others”. These coincide with
Srinivasan (2014) and opines mindful breathing as a fundamental component of human
consciousness and a mental capacity that can be strengthened to condition the learners’
behaviour, awareness capacity to their doings and skillfully tapped on stress regulation In
addition, Mendelson, et al. (2010) stated that mindfulness-based practices train capacities
for attention and enhance the ability to inhibit cognitive and emotional processes.

From the several benefits dealt from western practices brought the adoption of the
program. In a candid view, Tayabas Western Academy, through the administration
spearheaded the incorporation of mindful breathing program with objectives of fostering
stress management and cultivating self-awareness to academic, class behaviour and
school values anchored from the framework of Broderick (2013) and Nhat Hanh (1987)
which religiously practiced every morning before classes starts or during classes that
conditions students to focus on their breathing bringing awareness and state of calmness
reckoning expansion of stress management for learners since the junior high school
students face behavioural predicaments contributing to the impingement of stress and
anxiety in school.

This study examined the extent of mindful breathing practice being applied and
how this relate to the level of self-awareness and stress management. More so, the study
will be instrumental in contributing knowledge to educators and decision makers as basis
for wider application of mindfulness in school context.
The study is anchored on the Classical Conditioning of Pavlov (1927) in which
learning is relatively a change in behaviour brought about as a result of experience or
practice as response to certain conditioned stimulus.

Figure 1. Stimulus-Response (S-R) Model of Classical Conditioning Theory

The theory is represented by the figure above called the S-R Model which tells
that organism is being conditioned by a stimulus and a black box explains that we only
know what is going on inside the box by the organism’s response. Mindful breathing
program has been a practice for about four years in Tayabas Western Academy, with
procedure of conditioning the students as they hear the bell every morning during the flag
ceremony to focus on their breathing exercise. This elucidate behavior is broken down
into smaller stimulus-response units of behaviour through practice.

Social Emotional Learning Theory (1997) states that learning is possible only
after students’ social, emotional and physical needs have been met. When those needs are
met, students are more likely to succeed in school and cope with necessary barriers of
emotional responses like stress and personal problems. It also emphasize that students
can be taught through modelling and coaching to recognize how they feel or how might
someone else be feeling (Elias et al. 1997).

A theory of mindfulness proposed by Bishop et al. (2004) postulates that


mindfulness operates by individuals learning to abandon their efforts to forcibly control
their negative thoughts and to instead acknowledge that the thoughts and emotions are
present. The skill of mindfulness raises awareness to the transient nature of negative
thoughts, emotions, and body sensations, which leads to more flexible and objective
responses rather than reactions. This is in contrast with habitual judgments and
interpretations of stimuli that enter awareness, which trigger strong emotions and
reactions, and subsequently contribute to the awareness on the subject (Marchand, 2012).

Statement of the Problem


This study endeavoured to find the relationship between the mindful breathing
program and the level of self-awareness and stress management of Grade ten students.

Specifically, the study seeks to answer the following queries:

1. To what extent is the perception of the respondents on the mindful breathing


practice in terms of program objectives, implementation, procedure, participation,
monitoring, and feedback?
2. What is the level of self-awareness of the respondents as indicated by their
academic, class behaviour, and school values?
3. What is the respondents’ level of perception on their stress management as to
physical, emotional, social, and mental coping skills?
4. Is there a significant relationship between the mindful breathing program
variables and the level of self-awareness in terms of academic, class behaviour,
and school values?
5. Is there a significant relationship between the mindful breathing program
variables and the stress management variables?

Literature Review
Mindful breathing is a prevalent program routine which enhances adaptive coping
to stressful events by the self-regulation of attention towards the immediate experience,
and an open and accepting orientation towards one’s experience of the present (Bishop et
al., 2004). Thoughts and emotions that enter an individual’s awareness are observed, and
not expanded on or evaluated, with attention being redirected towards the breath in the
present moment (Chiesa & Serretti, 2012).

The groundwork of connecting mindful breathing as a customary process in


aiding students’ school performance is a remarkable highlight to consider succinctly
about the effectiveness of the program bridging the gap of students and their self-
awareness in fitting children to their regulated conditions (Soloway, 2011).

According to Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) as cited by Srinivasan (2014) Mindful


breathing process is a way of being, a practice we engage in, it’s not an abstract state; it is
a kind, curious, nonjudgmental awareness that we try to bring to each moment as we act.
Mindfulness particularly mindful breathing enables us to be more responsive and less
reactive. Hence, it affects how we interact with one another in a less subversive manner.

Mindful breathing as part of mindfulness curriculum has been described as ‘‘bare


attention”, in which moment-to-moment awareness of breathing of perception is
cultivated’. Although scientifically defining the construct of mindfulness has been
challenging, it is assumed linking to the concentration of attention, and self-awareness
towards the given conditions (Bishop et al., 2004).

Breathing is one of the few completely constant things in life. Regardless of what
else is going on, there is always breath in, and breath out, and the repetition of these two
activities. The awareness of this process has been used by countless people as a mindful
breathing via managing stress. The very act of being aware of one’s own breath can lead
to ‘better’ breathing, which can lead to physical awareness and emotional relaxation
(Scott, 2018).

As noted for the claim about Mindful Breathing Program wherein bound of social
and self-awareness skills play - fundamental role in the attainment of academic goals.
These skills include learning to channel attention to productive tasks, to sustain
motivation when work becomes demanding, and to handle the frustrations of sharing and
learning within a peer group. All of these skills depend upon the ability to understand and
manage emotions. Many highly beneficial education-based programs (Simbulan, 2016)
exist that teach the “what’s” and the “why’s” of social and emotional learning. An
experiential program can help teach the “how” in real time a student will go on his or her
studious attitude. Learning to attend to one’s present moment experience, called
mindfulness, offers students a tool to manage emotions as they are perceived and
potentially increase in magnitude of managing classroom behavior. While clearly both are
important, there is a difference between knowing about emotions and knowing one’s own
emotions as they are experienced. In addition to learning about emotions, there is a
distinct advantage in learning how to notice what’s happening in the present moment.
Attending to and identifying emotions can mitigate the behavioural issues and increase
emotional balance and clarity (Booth, 2014).

Methodology
The study is a descriptive correlation design, which according to Melegrito and
Mendoza (2016) is a research that describes and interprets information. Likewise, it is
concerned with the conditions of relationships that exist, opinions that are held and
processes that are going on effects or trends that are developing. This type of research
applies to the study on hand wherefore determining the relationship of mindful breathing
program, correlating together with the perceived level of self-awareness and stress
management skills as perceived by the grade ten students who have experienced of
undertaking the said program from its initial start.

This study has a sample size of two hundred thirty-two (232) from a population of
five hundred fifty (550). The selection was done by using simple random sampling and
by the Slovin’s formula with 5% margin of error. The ratio and proportion method was
used then the students were selected randomly using fishbowl technique from Grade ten
junior high schools enrolled during the school year 2018-2019 at Tayabas Western
Academy, Candelaria, Quezon.

The researchers utilized self-made questionnaire with adapted inputs from Self-
awareness Outcome Questionnaire by Sutton (2015), and The Coping with School-related
Stress Questionnaire by Wrzesniewski, K., & Chylinska, J. (2007). Subsequently,
evaluated and validated by educators who are practitioners of mindfulness and after all
comments and suggestions incorporated, the final copy was made. Then it proceeded to
pilot testing to selected group of respondents who were not included in the study but with
the same case about the mindful breathing program. Also the research instrument
undergone reliability test through Cronbach’s alpha which obtained a range result of 0.72-
0.88 signifies the reliability of the instrument. The survey questionnaire likewise used
Likert scale to measure the extent of the practice of the program and the level of self-
awareness and stress management of students.
Table1. The scale and verbal interpretations used in this study
Value Range Verbal Interpretations
5 4.21-5.00 Very highly practiced Strongly agree Very High
4 3.41-4.20 Highly practiced Agree High
3 2.61-3.40 Moderately practiced Uncertain Moderately High
2 1.81-2.60 Slightly practiced Disagree Low
1 1.00-1.80 Not at all Strongly disagree Very low

To produce sound results the distribution of survey questionnaires happened in


two consecutive days; the respondents initially answered part 1 about the mindful
breathing program variables such as objectives, implementation, procedure, participation,
monitoring and feedback. Likewise, part 2 the level of self-awareness and part 3 stress
management skills were taken the following day, respectively. Respondents were oriented
thereupon by the researchers to make sure of the clarity and compliance of instructions of
the given questionnaire.

The gathered data were subjected to tabulation and recording for statistical
analysis using SPSS. Statistical measures were used specifically (a) mean, (b) standard
deviation; for inferential statistics, (c) Pearson Product Moment of Correlation
Coefficient was used to tell how well two sets of continuous data correlate to each other
at 0.05 and 0.01 level of significance.

Results and Discussion

In view of the foregoing results, there are six related variables under mindful
breathing program namely objectives, implementation, procedure, participation,
monitoring and feedback; while the level of self-awareness has academic, class behaviour
and school values; and the level of stress management variables such as physical,
emotional, social, and mental coping skills. Each variable herein was tested separately
with indicators and were reflected in the appendices.

Summary Table of Mindful Breathing Program Variables


Table 2 presents indicated identical verbal interpretation since the computed mean
of every variable falls from the spectrum of 3.41 – 4.20 which connotes “Agree/highly
practiced’. It can be gleaned also that the procedure of the program (mean=3.93) receive
the highest mean result followed by the participation variable (mean=3.92), these explain
the extent of agreement that students adhere and practice the mindful breathing.
Moreover, the objectives of the program are seen utilized and are being met by the
school. Thus, this suggests that the program is carried properly, followed, and actively
participated by the students and teachers.
Table 2. Summary Table of the Mindful Breathing Program Variables
Variable Mean Std. Deviation Verbal Interpretation
Objectives 3.84 .81 Highly Practiced
Implementatio
3.74 .71 Highly Practiced
n
Procedure 3.93 .74 Highly Practiced
Participation 3.92 .77 Highly Practiced
Monitoring 3.80 .78 Highly Practiced
Feedback 3.80 .73 Highly Practiced
Overall 3.84 .76 Highly Practiced

Summary Table of the Level of Self-Awareness


Based on the table below it vividly indicates that the level of self-awareness of the
students is ‘high’ in all three variables with an overall mean of 3.98 and standard
deviation of .82. This implies that through mindful breathing program students gained in
expanding students’ self-awareness in improving their academic, class behavior and
school values.

Table 3. Summary Table of the Level of Self-Awareness


Variable Mean Std. Deviation Verbal Interpretation
Academic 3.98 .72 High
Class behavior 3.93 .82 High
School values 4.03 .75 High
Overall 3.98 .82 High

Summary Table of the Level of Stress Management Skills


The table shown on the next page is the summary table for the stress management
variables and noticeably that students ‘very often’ confront stress through their physical,
social, emotional, and mental coping skills. With an overall mean of 3.82 which indicates
that students have high stress management skills. Hence, the findings indicate that
students give high regard in managing stresses specifically through physical coping skills.

Table 4. Summary Table of the Level of Stress Management Skills


Verbal
Variable Mean Std. Deviation
Interpretation
Physical coping 4.04 .81 High
Emotional coping 3.79 .88 High
Social coping 3.72 .95 High
Mental coping 3.74 .92 High
Overall 3.82 .89 High

Correlation between Mindful Breathing Program and the Level of Self-Awareness


Table 5 presents test of relationship between the perceived mindful breathing
program and self-awareness. As reflected in the table, it can be observed that there are no
significant relationships among variables except for one, monitoring (r = .494, p = .000)
since its p value is less than 0.01 level of significance. This shows that monitoring the
program has extent influence on the behavior of students. This also suggests that
monitoring a program promotes awareness of students on how will they respond and
behave inside the classroom. The result relates from the study of Menzies, Lane, & Lee
(2009) where they emphasized that monitoring the program can contribute to students’
behavior by following the school rules and regulations for which it establishes routine as
guide for behavioral conditions. Similarly, Anderson, et al. (2004) reported that
monitoring intervention for students helps for the supervision of the academic
productivity and disruptive behavior inside the classroom. This connotes that school
administration must take into consideration of monitoring its program being implemented
which has a significant relationship on the students’ class behavior. However, the findings
reveal negative or low correlation on the majority of the variables which explain that
incorporation of the program must be further reviewed and evaluated to determine the
plan in need of modification for improvement. In addition, Broderick et al. (2019)
emphasized the proliferation of mindfulness in education being implemented requires
adequate preparation and training for teachers to meet the program aims.

Table 5. Correlation between Mindful Breathing Program and the Level of Self-
Awareness
Self-Awareness Variables
Mindful Breathing
Class
Program Variable Academic School values
behavior
Objectives -.032 -.042 .002
Implementation .001 -.019 .089
Procedure .112 -.065 -.018
Participation .119 -.089 .031
Feedback -.065 .026 .058
Monitoring .118 .494** .100
Note: N = 232; **r value is significant at p<0.01

Correlation between Mindful Breathing Program and the Level of Stress Management
Table 6 shows the correlation of program variables of mindful breathing and
stress management using pearson r. It can be observed that the implementation of mindful
breathing (r = .287, p=.000) and its procedure (r = .133, p = .044) have significant
relationship in the physical coping skills. This may infer that the implementation and
procedure carries out the needs of the students in managing stress. Likewise, the program
objectives (r = .304, p = .000) and implementation (r = .160, p = .015) have significant
relationship with the emotional coping skills, which tells that the program influences the
stress management of the students specifically through emotional coping. Findings are
similar to the study of Gouda et al. (2016) for which mindful breathing interventions have
been shown to address the problems of the young students who take part, and improve
their wellbeing emotionally, reduce worries, anxiety, stress, and bring about greater
calmness, and awareness. Further, the participation of the program has a significant
relationship with mental coping skills (r = .344, p=.000) which indicates that active
involvement of students in the program may improve handling stress.

According to Cloutier (2011) she explains the parallelism between mindful


breathing and mental coping mechanism which states that teaching the students to
immerse into the program of mindfulness may help them cope with daily stressors and
reduce their overall anxiety. This also eases their minds in focusing on substantial
experiences.
Table 6. Correlation between Mindful Breathing Program and the Level of Stress
Management
Stress Management Variables
Mindful Breathing Emotiona
Program Variable Physical l Social Mental
Coping Coping Coping Coping
Objectives .099 .304** -.023 .075
Implementation .287** .160* .039 .076
Procedure .133* .065 .013 .071
Participation .067 .001 .115 .344**
Feedback .052 .047 .082 .020
Monitoring .045 -.037 -.018 .105
Note: N = 232, *r value is significant at p< 0.05; **r value is significant at p<0.01

Conclusions

The null hypothesis stating that there is no significant relationship between the
program- related variables and the respondents’ self-awareness is rejected; and the
hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between the program-related factors
and the stress management skills of the respondents is rejected.

Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusions made, the following are hereby
recommended:

1. As can be noted that the extent of agreement resulted positive feedback in the
mindful breathing program, school administrators and teachers may continuously
improve the implementation of mindful breathing program, this gives
disseminating the purpose and benefits of the program in regulating self-
awareness and stress.

2. Educational institutions which incorporate mindful breathing program may


specify its program objectives vis-a-vis the purpose initiating an intervention for
students learning.
3. The school administrators may considerably closely monitor the administered
mindful breathing program to ensure that the objectives are carried out properly
since monitoring is a valuable tool to support the learning process within
organizations as they help us to understand what works and why. Also, it is of
vital importance that lessons learned derived from monitoring and evaluations are
being shared both with practitioners, policy and decision makers.
4. Teachers, students and practitioners of mindful breathing may emphasize active
participation in the program by religiously practicing it and by directly following
procedures coherent in regulating emotions and alleviating stress.

5. Institutions and organizations may incorporate mindful breathing program since the
findings emphasized beneficial impact on the level of self-awareness particularly
on repertoire of stress management.

6. Future studies regarding the incorporation of mindful breathing as a program in


educational context are highly recommended likely for uplifting the study
employing experimental type of research to suffice information on the impact of
the program to students’ self-awareness and stress management. Moreover, it is
hoped that the results and findings would contribute knowledge to curriculum
planners, teachers and other researchers.

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