This 2-Minute Practice Could Make Prisons A Healthier Place

And possibly safer, too.

Mindfulness is making a difference in the lives of an unlikely group: prison guards.

Officers in Oregon’s Department of Corrections are starting to use the calming tactic, which just requires a person to focus on their breathing and be present in the moment, in prisons. Research shows mindfulness can also abate anxiety, boost the brain and improve sleep. And for those who work in high-stress professions like corrections, these perks of the practice are vital to a good quality of life.

Corrections officers, in particular, are highly susceptible to mental health issues, like post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I consider myself one of the statistics at this point. I’ve got high blood pressure, high cholesterol,” Matthew Zeller, a correctional sergeant for Oregon’s DOC says in the video above. “I’ve noticed in doing some of the breathing exercises and mindful-based practices, I’m able to lower my blood pressure.”

Not only does mindfulness help address some of the health challenges guards face, those who’ve practiced it say it also leads to safer prison conditions. Corrections staff members say mindfulness has particularly helped them stay relaxed and less forceful during deescalation processes with inmates.

Check out the video to learn more about how mindfulness is making a difference in prisons.

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