Stress Management and Resiliency Techniques (SMART)

An evidence-based program designed to address the needs of educators (Kindergarten to Grade 12) and professional support staff.


Originally developed in the US,Stress Management & Resiliency Techniques (SMART) is now managed by smartUBC, a not-for-profit group at the University of British Columbia and coordinated through the Okanagan School of Education.

UBC researches and manages the development of the evidence base for continual updating of the curriculum. The program involves experiential activities in mindfulness including: secular meditation, emotional awareness, self-regulation, and movement. Weekly meetings include presentations and group discussions. Participants also benefit from daily at home exercises in support of the program.

Strategic Goals

  • Catalyze interdisciplinary cross-faculty integration of SMART into curriculum, degree, and certificate programming
  • Encourage innovative professional development programs for credit-non-credit within disciplines
  • Promote mindfulness programs to attract candidates across undergraduate and graduate programming
  • Elevate mindfulness knowledge translation in all domains to influence health policy and practice
  • Develop destination mindfulness conferences and retreats to promote a mindful society
  • Promote international partnerships to support interdisciplinary research in mindfulness in support of UBC’s strategic vision

About the Course

The 20-hour course is delivered in a workshop setting, with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 25 participants and consists of eight two-hour sessions and a four-hour silent retreat. The course is non-religious and non-sectarian and is delivered by smartUBC accredited instructors.

The course helps educators:

  • Manage stress through a greater understanding and control of emotions
  • Employ self-care techniques to cultivate personal and professional resilience
  • Create effective strategies for relating to challenging situations
  • Have personal experience to support other programs for students in mindfulness
  • Enhance concentration and executive function (planning, decision-making, and impulse control)
  • Revitalize purpose, personally and professionally
  • Improve personal overall mental and physical health
  • Promote happiness through healthy habits of the mind

SMART involves experiential practices that promote:

  • Concentration, attention, and mindfulness
  • Awareness and understanding of emotions
  • Empathy, compassion, and positive interpersonal communication

Mindfulness Practices

These short mindfulness audio clips are free and easy to use by anyone.


Thirty years of informed research offer compelling evidence to support the use of employing mindfulness practices in education. The application of mindfulness by students and teachers has the potential to improve academic achievement, mental health, and positive relationships. Scientific studies show that mindfulness training develops one’s concentration, attention, executive function, emotional balance, pro-social behavior, compassionate action and promotes mental well-being.

SMART’s unique offering is based on Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as its foundation (70 per cent of the program content), the added components of emotion theory training (20 per cent) and forgiveness and compassion training (10 per cent). The SMART program is the most researched mindfulness program for educators, with more than eight studies completed on SMART in various locations in Canada and the USA.

Research on SMART has attracted over $200,000 in finished grants, with $3.7 million in additional grant funding pending.

The following articles represent the research that has already been published specifically about smartEducation.

Please find below a short sampling of the Research on SMART, Mindfulness for Educators, and a longer section of readings and research related to mindfulness.

SMART’s unique offering is not only the heavily researched MBSR as its foundation (70 per cent of the program content), but the added components of emotion theory training (20 per cent) and forgiveness and compassion training (10 per cent). The SMART program is the most researched mindfulness program for educators, with over eight studies completed on SMART in various locations in Canada and the USA. As well, research on SMART has attracted over $200,000 in finished grants, with $3.7 million in additional grant funding pending.

The following articles represent the research that has already been published specifically about smartEducation.

Benn, R., Akiva, T., Arel, S., Roeser, R. (2012). Mindfulness training effects for parents and educators of children with special needs. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1476-1487. doi:10.1037/a0027537

  • Randomized controlled study on the effects of mindfulness training on parents and educators of children with special needs. Results showed that SmartinEducation mindfulness training “significantly influenced caregiving competence specific to teaching” and significant reductions in stress and anxiety, as well as increased mindfulness, self-compassion, personal growth, empathic concern and forgiveness.

Roeser, R.W., Schonert-Reichl, K.A., Jha, A., Cullen, M., Wallace, L., Wilensky, R., Oberle, E., Thomson, K., Taylor, C., & Harrison, J. (2013, April 29). Mindfulness Training and Reductions in Teacher Stress and Burnout: Results from Two Randomized, Waitlist-Control Field Trials.  Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication: doi:10.1037/a0032093.

  • This research explores the psychological and physiological effects on 113 teachers in Canada and America of randomized assignation to an 8-week Mindfulness Training (SMARTinEducation) or wait-list control groups. Results showed teachers assigned to MT showed greater mindfulness, focused attention, and working memory capacity, and occupational self-compassion, as well as a reduction in occupational stress and burnout, and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Roeser, R. (2009). SMART-in-Education Three-Day Workshops for School Counselors, Principals and School Administrators: Vancouver, BC. Denver, CO. (unpublished)

  • This is Roeser’s report on a three-day SMART experience offered for administrators. The three-day intensive SMART workshop was to introduce the SMART program to administrators and to give them an idea of the benefits of SMART for their teachers and colleagues. They were presented with the material and surveys and reports of previous SMART trainings. In addition to giving feedback and recommendations for the program, the majority of participants said they would recommend this program to their teachers and colleagues.

The specific research studies referred to here demonstrate that practicing mindfulness decreases occupational stress and compassion burnout. Mindfulness protocols are highly regarded as a non-invasive mental health intervention tool for educators within the school system, and the current demand for the UBC SMARTinEducation curriculum and training by provincial school districts is evidence of this trusted resource.

Abenavoli, R. M., Jennings, P. A., Greenberg, M. T., Harris, A. R., & Katz, D. A. (2013). The Protective effects of mindfulness against burnout among educators. The Psychology of Education Review, 37(2), 57-69.

  • This article reports on the study of 64 educators using self-reports measures of mindfulness, burnout, affect, sleep related impairment, , daily physical symptoms, stress and ambition. Descriptive statistics and correlations in the study variables show that teacher’s mindfulness has a strong protective effect against burnout.

Flook, L., Goldberg, S. B., Pinger, L., Bonus, K. and Davidson, R. J. (2013). Mindfulness for Teachers: A Pilot Study to Assess Effects on Stress, Burnout, and Teaching Efficacy. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7: 182–195. doi: 10.1111/mbe.12026

  • Results from a randomized control pilot trial of a modified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course adapted specifically for teachers suggest that the course may be a promising intervention with participants showing significant reductions in psychological symptoms and burnout, improvements in observer-rated classroom organization and performance on a computer task of affective attentional bias and increases in self-compassion. This study comes out of the Centre for Investigating Healthy Minds (CIHM), University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Fortney, L., Luchterhand, C., Zakletskaia, L., Zgierska, A., & Rakel, D. (2013).  Abbreviated mindfulness intervention for job satisfaction, quality of life, and compassion in primary care clinicians: A pilot study.  Annals of Family Medicine, 11(5), 412-420. doi:10.1370/afm.1511

Jennings, P. A., Frank, J.L., Snowberg, K.E., Coccia, M.A., Greenberg, M.T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of a randomized-controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4), 374-390.

  • Randomized controlled trial examined program efficacy and acceptability of CARE for Teachers program, a mindfulness-based professional development program. Fifty teachers were randomly assigned to CARE or waitlist and were given pre-post intervention self-reports. Results showed significant improvements in teacher well-being, efficacy, burnout/time-related stress, and mindfulness. (Also see: Jennings, P. A., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2011). Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of two pilot studies. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 46(1), 37–48.)

Meiklejohn, J., Phillips, C., Freedman, M.L., Griffin, M. L, Biegel, G., Roach, A., Frank, J., Burke, C., Pinger, L., Soloway, G., Isberg, R., Sibinga, E., Grossman, L., Saltzman, A. (2012). Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education: Fostering the Resilience of Students and Teachers. Mindfulness, 3:291-307.

  • An overview of 14 studies researching mindfulness in K-12 and in teachers. Offers the rationale for mindfulness training, the effects of mindfulness, and a framework for evaluating mindfulness programs and studies.

Roeser, R. W., Skinner, E., Beers, J. and Jennings, P. A. (2012), Mindfulness Training and Teachers’ Professional Development: An Emerging Area of Research and Practice. Child Development Perspectives, 6: 167–173. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00238.x

  • This article discusses the rationale for Mindfulness training programs to be implemented as professional development aimed at improving teaching in public schools. It gives a definition for mindfulness training, its application in the teacher context and explores the effects and directions for future research

Bauer-Wu, S. (2010). Mindfulness meditation. Oncology (Williston Park, N.Y.), 24(10 Suppl), 36.

Beach, M. C., Saha, S., Korthuis, T., Sharp, V., Cohn, J., Epstein, R., & Moore, R. D. (2009). Are mindfulness and empathy amoung healthcare providers associated with more positive patient outcomes?  Journal of General Internal Medicine24, 23-24.

Davis, K. (2010). Mindfulness and social work practice, (by Steven F. Hick, ed.). Smith College Studies in Social Work, 80(2), 344-348. doi:10.1080/00377317.2010.486363

Garland, E. L. (2013). Mindfulness research in social work: Conceptual and methodological recommendations. Social Work Research, 37(4), 439-448. doi:10.1093/swr/svt038

Goodman, M. J., & Schorling, J. B. (2012). A mindfulness course decreases burnout and improves well-being among healthcare providers. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 43(2), 119-128. doi:10.2190/PM.43.2.b

Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga ES, et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.  JAMA Intern Med.2014;174(3): 357-368. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.13018.

Hawley, L. L., Schwartz, D., Bieling, P. J., Irving, J., Corcoran, K., Farb, N. A. S., . . . Segal, Z. V. (2014). Mindfulness practice, rumination and clinical outcome in mindfulness-based treatment. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38(1), 1-9. doi:10.1007/s10608-013-9586-4

Hick, S. F. (2008). A personal journey to mindfulness: Implications for social work practice. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 14(2), 16-23.

Jacobs, S. J., & Blustein, D. L. (2008). Mindfulness as a coping mechanism for employment uncertainty. Career Development Quarterly57(2), 174-180.

Lampe, M., & Engleman-Lampe, C. (2012). Mindfulness-based business ethics education. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 16(3), 99.

Ludwig, D. S., & Kabat-Zinn, J. (2008). Mindfulness in medicine. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 300(11), 1350-1352. doi:10.1001/jama.300.11.1350

Mangiameli, P. (2012). Reliability, mindfulness, and managing healthcare: Introduction to a JBR special section. Journal of Business Research, 65(4), 535-536. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2011.02.017

Mars, T. S., & Abbey, H. (2010). Mindfulness meditation practise as a healthcare intervention: A systematic review. International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine, 13(2), 56-66. doi:10.1016/j.ijosm.2009.07.005

Martin-Asuero, A., & Garcia-Banda, G. (2010). The mindfulness-based stress reduction program (MBSR) reduces stress-related psychological distress in healthcare professionals. Spanish Journal of Psychology, 13(2), 897.

McGarrigle, T., & Walsh, C. A. (2011). Mindfulness, self-care, and wellness in social work: Effects of contemplative training. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work, 30(3), 212-233. doi:10.1080/15426432.2011.587384

Newsome, S., Christopher, J. C., Dahlen, P., & Christopher, S. (2006). Teaching counselors self-care through mindfulness practices. TEACHERS COLLEGE RECORD, 108(9), 1881-1900. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00766.x

Russell, J. (2011). Mindfulness: A tool for parents and children with asperger’s syndrome. Mindfulness, 2(3), 212-215. doi:10.1007/s12671-011-0063-4

Ruths, F. A., de Zoysa, N., Frearson, S. J., Hutton, J., Williams, J. M. G., & Walsh, J. (2013). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for mental health professionals €”a pilot study. Mindfulness, 4(4), 289-295. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0127-0

Santorelli, S. (2007). Mindfulness and medicine. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3(2), 136-144. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2006.12.009

Turner, K. (2009). Mindfulness: The present moment in clinical social work. Clinical Social Work Journal, 37(2), 95-103. doi:10.1007/s10615-008-0182-0

Van Gordon, W., Shonin, E., Zangeneh, M., & Griffiths, M. D. (2014). Work-related mental health and job performance: Can mindfulness help? International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 12(2), 129-137. doi:10.1007/s11469-014-9484-3

Webb, J. R., Phillips, T. D., Bumgarner, D., & Conway-Williams, E. (2013). Forgiveness, mindfulness, and health. Mindfulness, 4(3), 235-245. doi:10.1007/s12671-012-0119-0

White, L. (2014). Mindfulness in nursing: An evolutionary concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(2), 282-294. doi:10.1111/jan.12182


Arranging SMART at your facility in Ontario:
Heidi Bornstein