Terve oppiva mieli
Terve oppiva mieli

Healthy Learning Mind

Healthy Learning Mind is a health promotion project including a research and development project that is conducted in co-operation with Folkhälsan Research Center and the University of Helsinki.

Healthy Learning Mind – Research Project

The aim of the research project is to explore the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based intervention program on e.g. stress resilience, mental health and learning among 12-15 year old adolescents in the school context. 3519 students and their teachers and parents participated in the study during 2014-2016.

Background of Healthy Learning Mind-Research

The capacity to face new and stressful situations in the course of human life depends on individual’s internal resources which develop in interplay between psychological, physiological and social constituents of life. Early intervention, targeted to strengthen and support this capacity, would be needed to counteract the influence of stressors and to promote health and well-being.

During the last few years research on mindfulness has increased, and widened from the adult population to children and adolescents. Earlier preliminary international research has shown promising results among children and adolescents both in clinical and school contexts. Earlier research shows that practicing mindfulness develops e.g. children’s and adolescents’ stress resilience, attention, emotion regulation, compassion and social skills. However, to be able to indicate the significant beneficial effects of mindfulness practice on children’s and adolescents’ health and well-being, the research needs to shift toward large and well-designed studies with robust methodologies.

The Aim of the Study

The primary aim of the Healthy Learning Mind research is to explore the effectiveness of a mindfulness intervention program compared to a standard relaxation program among a large sample of children and adolescents in the school context. In addition, we are interested in comparing intervention and non-treatment groups. The sample size is altogether 3 519 students.

The aim is to:

  • Examine the effectiveness of the mindfulness intervention on attention, resilience, well-being and compassion.
  • Promote emotion regulation, self-regulation, self-kindness and happiness among children and adolescents.
  • Promote calmness in the classroom as well as teachers’ well-being at schools.
  • Bring a cost-efficient tool for promoting well-being, learning and positive school climate among both students and teachers.

The research project systematically explores the effects of a mindfulness intervention on changes in medical, psychological, psychophysiological, neuropsychological and educational outcomes. It is designed to evaluate children’s and adolescents’ stress resilience, mental health and well-being as primary outcomes, and related underlying mechanisms (attention, emotion regulation, self-regulation, self-kindness, happiness) along with school social climate, social relationships, school achievement, and health behavior as secondary outcomes.


In the first statistical analysis we  compared the mindfulness intervention group to the active control group who received a relaxation program. We analysed the data by gender, grade and practice intensity. The primary outcomes are resilience, social-emotional functioning and depression.

With the regard of health benefits, the findings suggest that mindfulness intervention is more beneficial than a regular relaxation program among adolescents. Statistically significant increase in resilience and statistically significant decrease in depressive symptoms were found in the intervention group compared to the active control group.

The results are more recognizable among girls. However, a more detailed analysis revealed that boys who were practicing mindfulness regularly benefitted from mindfulness practices such as girls. There are many possible reasons for this finding. One possible explanation is that practicing mindfulness as well as recognizing the psychological benefits of these practices is easier for girls compared to boys. Mindfulness practices are an effective and recommendable mean in order to enhance skills in emotion recognition and emotion expression among boys.

Social-emotional functioning improved in the mindfulness intervention group compared to the control group but a significant effect was only found among seventh graders.

As expected, results showed that practicing mindfulness regularly increased health benefits. Information about more detailed results will be updated on this page when the article has been published.

In the future it is essential to investigate whether health benefits of mindfulness practices can be increased in the school context by organizing training for school personnel. We are examining this question in the Healthy Learning Mind –development project.


An updated list of publications can be found here.

Healthy Learning Mind – Development Project

Healthy Learning Mind –development project was a Finnish health promotion project that was conducted at Folkhälsan Research Center during 2016-2018. The project was financed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The aim of the project was to promote wellbeing among students and school personnel by implementing mindfulness practices into schools. During the development project we conducted a feasibility study in order to assess the best means to implement mindfulness practices into schools. 89 participants from four Finnish municipalities were recruited for the development project.

During the development project we developed a twofold mindfulness-based (MF-based) training course tailored for school personnel in Finnish comprehensive schools. The training course was delivered in three different formats: 1) a contact training course; 2) a combination of contact training course and webcourse and 3) a webcourse. The first module was an 8 week wellbeing course promoting eg. well-being, stress-management and self-compassion among school personnel. The second module was a 6 week course of implementing mindfulness practices into classrooms. During the second module school personnel received a Teacher’s Guide including mindfulness practices for students in different age groups and advice how to implement mindfulness practices into classrooms.

Feasibility Study and Results

We conducted a feasibility study in order to assess the implementation of the MF-based well-being program. Research data was collected from the school personnel by questionnaires and interviews.

Participants were satisfied with the mindfulness-based training course. They evaluated the training course to be feasible for school personnel and they would recommend the training course to their colleagues. Self-reported wellbeing benefits of the training course indicated that school personnel adopted tools in order to promote their own and students’ wellbeing. A few participants reported having benefit of mindfulness skills in order to manage difficult situations at school. Additionally a few participants had noticed positive changes in the interaction with students. Participants reported mindfulness practices to be beneficial for students and they assessed mindfulness practices to be in accordance with goals and values of the school.

The mindfulness-based training course was well received among school personnel in Finnish comprehensive schools and it is applicable in the Finnish school environment. Research data, feedback and experiences gained during the development project will be applied in order to implement mindfulness practices at every stage from the day care up to high school.


Det Välmående och Lärande Sinnet -forskningsprojekt

Studien ’Det Välmående och Lärande Sinnet’ är ett hälsofrämjande projekt vars syfte är att undersöka effektivitet av övningar i medveten närvaro på självregleringsförmåga, mentalt välmående, välbefinnande, medkänsla, inlärningsförmåga och socio-emotionella färdigheter hos elever samt välbefinnande och arbetsförmåga hos lärare. Därtill kartlägger vi de bästa möjliga sätten att implementera övningar i medveten närvaro i finländska grundskolor.


Under projektet har vi utfört en interventionsstudie (en randomiserad kontrollerad studie) och samlat in elevdata (N=3519) för att kartlägga effektiviteten av övningar i medveten närvaro på koncentrationsförmåga, stresshantering, mentalt välmående, inlärningsförmåga och medkänsla hos 12–15 åriga barn och ungdomar. Data samlades under 2014–2016. Vi jämför tre olika grupper: 1) en interventionsgrupp som har gjort övningar i medveten närvaro; 2) en kontrollgrupp som har gjort vanliga avslappningsövningar och 3) en s.k. 0-grupp som har följt den vanliga läroplanen. Ytterligare genomförde vi objektiva psykofysiologiska och neuropsykologiska mätningar bland en del av eleverna (N=131).


Resultatet av vår forskning stöder implementering av övningar i medveten närvaro i skolor. Resultat visar att övningar i medveten närvaro är ett effektivt sätt att främja mentalt välmående bland 12–15-åriga barn och unga jämfört med vanliga avslappningsövningar. Statistiska analyser visar en signifikant ökning i resiliens och signifikant minskning av depressiva symptom i interventionsgruppen jämfört med den aktiva kontrollgruppen. Ytterligare socio-emotionell kompetens förbättrades i interventionsgruppen jämfört med kontrollgruppen.



Det Välmående och Lärande Sinnet –utvecklingsprojektet var ett finländskt hälsofrämjande projekt som utfördes under åren 2016 – 2018. Projektet finansierades av social- och hälsovårdsministeriet. Syftet med detta projekt var att främja välbefinnande bland elever och skolpersonal genom att implementera övningar i medveten närvaro i skolor. Under utvecklingsprojektet utförde vi en genomförbarhetsstudie för att kartlägga de bästa möjliga sätten att implementera övningar i medveten närvaro i grundskolor. 88 deltagare rekryterades till projektet.

Under utvecklingsprojektet skapade vi en tvådelad utbildning i medveten närvaro för skolpersonalen i finländska grundskolor. Utbildningen ordnades i tre olika former: 1) en kurs med närundervisning, 2) en kurs med kombinerad när- och nätbaserad undervisning och 3) en nätbaserad kurs.

Den första modulen var ett 8 veckors välmåendeprogram för skolpersonalen och den andra modulen var ett 6 veckors program om att implementera övningar i medveten närvaro i klassrum. Under den andra modulen fick deltagarna en Lärarmanual, som innehöll övningar i medveten närvaro för elever. Deltagarna fyllde i frågeformulär under utbildningen. En uppföljning genomfördes 3 – 6 månader efter avslutad utbildning.

Deltagarna var nöjda med den utbildningen i medveten närvaro. Deltagarna utvärderade utbildningen som genomförbar i skolkontexten och de skulle rekommendera utbildningen för kolleger. Själv-rapporterade resultat visade att skolpersonalen tillägnade sig verktyg för att främja sitt eget samt elevernas välbefinnande. Deltagare rapporterade även att de hade fått verktyg för att hantera svåra situationer samt att de hade märkt positiva förändringar i interaktionen med eleverna. Deltagarna rapporterade att övningar i medveten närvaro var gynnsamma för eleverna och utvärderade att övningarna var i enlighet med skolans målsättningar och värderingar.