Pause Breathe Smile shows a range of benefits including increases in calmness, focus, self-awareness and the development of positive relationships with others.  Understanding the impact this programme has is essential to us and so we continue to focus on research and evaluation of Pause Breathe Smile outcomes.

Summary of findings

  • Improves focus & attention
  • Increases calm & student wellbeing
  • Enhances self-awareness & pro-social behaviour
  • Improves conflict resolution skills
  • Decreases teacher stress

Our Research Projects and Partners

Impact Evaluation for the Pause Breathe Smile Programme

(2020) Ihi Research. Dr Anne Hynds, Rawiri Hindle, Dr Larissa Kus-Harbord, and Dr Catherine Savage

This evaluation builds on previous research that has found to Pause Breathe Smile makes a vital contribution to learning and general wellbeing within classrooms and school communities. Evaluation findings have emphasised the many positive and interconnected benefits that Pause Breathe Smile has on Māori and non-Māori children and particularly boys.

Effectiveness of a Mindfulness-Based Program on School Children's Self-Reported Well-Being: A Pilot Study Comparing Effects With An Emotional Literacy Program

(2017) Daniel A. Devcich, Grant Rix, Ross Bernay & Esther Graham

106 Students between 9 and 11 years old were allocated by their classroom to either the 8-week mindfulness-based program or an 8-week emotional literacy program. Both programs led to significant increases in well-being outcomes, but significantly greater changes were observed for the mindfulness group. Mindfulness scores significantly increased for the mindfulness group only. There was evidence of student acceptability of the mindfulness-based program and some indication of sustainability of effects at 12 weeks.

Pause Breathe Smile: a mixed-methods study of student well-being following participation in an eight-week, locally developed mindfulness program in three New Zealand schools

(2016). Auckland. Ross Bernay, Esther Graham, Daniel A Devcich, Grant Rix & Christine M Rubie-Davies

Changes in mindfulness were positively related to changes in wellbeing. The study results suggest the importance of offering mindfulness-based programmes for potential improvements in students’ wellbeing.

A study of the effects of mindfulness in five primary schools in New Zealand

(2014). Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and AUT University. Authors: Rix, G. & Bernay, R.

This study investigates the effects of an eight-week mindfulness in schools programme delivered in five primary schools in New Zealand. The participants included 126 students ranging in age from 6-11 years old and six classroom teachers.

Pausing Breathing and Smiling in the Waikato: Outcomes Evaluation

(2019) Mindfulness Education Group. Grant & Natasha Rix

In addition to reinforcing already established benefits of Pause Breathe Smile there was a clear theme that young learners were valuing the mindfulness activities being taught as evidenced by their transfer from the school environment to the home environment. The emergence of this theme indicates a degree of intrinsic motivation to use the various Pause Breathe Smile strategies learnt in a variety of ways and situations as each child felt appropriate.

Pause Breathe Smile school-based mindfulness programme: professional development for Canterbury teachers and classroom implementation

(2018) Grant Rix & Natasha Rix

20 Pause Breathe Smile Educator scholarships and an additional 25 personal wellbeing scholarships were provided to Canterbury teachers during 2017 with funding received from the Rata Foundation, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation. This report evaluates the wellbeing impact for children resulting from Pause Breathe Smile being implemented in classrooms and the personal wellbeing impact for the educators who participated in Pause Breathe Smile training. The wellbeing impacts in the children included: increased calm, improvements in empathy, kindness and respect and enhanced emotion regulation, resilience and self-regulation. 96% of teachers reported a meaningful improvement in personal wellbeing including feeling calmer, increased self-awareness, feeling more engaged with the class and improvements in collaborative teaching.

Mindfulness as a core strategy for promoting mental health and increasing positive (flourishing) states of wellbeing

(2014). Auckland. Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Authors: Rix,G., Bernay, R., Devich, D.A.

The growing evidence for mindfulness practice shows significant benefits for health across multiple settings. The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is interested in promoting mindfulness in education, workplaces, and healthcare settings in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial for a Videoconference-Delivered Mindfulness-Based Group Intervention in a Nonclinical Setting

(2018) Christian U. Krägeloh, Oleg N. Medvedev, Tamasin Taylor, Wendy Wrapson, Grant Rix, Alexander Sumich, Grace Y. Wang, Rita Csako, David Anstiss, Jussi T. Ranta, Ninad Patel, Richard J. Siegert

Participants were taught a variety of mindfulness-based exercises such as meditation, breathing exercises, and mindful tasting, as well as the concepts underpinning such practice. Participants completed pre- and post-intervention questionnaires on depression, anxiety, repetitive negative thinking, dysfunctional attitudes, positive and negative affect, self-compassion, compassion for others, and mindfulness. For participants who attended at least five of the six sessions, scores on all outcome measures improved significantly post-intervention and remained stable at 3-week follow-up. The videoconference-delivered mindfulness-based group intervention appears to provide a viable alternative format to standard mindfulness programs where the facilitator and participants need to live in close physical proximity with each other.