Mindfulness and Police Officers
Updated: Jun 1
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. It has been shown to have numerous benefits, including reducing stress, improving mental health, and increasing overall well-being. There is growing interest in incorporating mindfulness into the training of police officers to help them manage the high levels of stress and trauma that can come with the job.
Some police departments have started offering mindfulness training as part of their academy training and ongoing professional development for experienced officers. Evidence suggests that mindfulness can help police officers cope with job demands and may even improve their performance. For example, a study of police officers in the United Kingdom found that those who received mindfulness training reported lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression and improved relationships with colleagues and the public. Another study of police officers in the United States found that those who participated in mindfulness training experienced a reduction in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and an increase in overall well-being. Some of the specific ways that mindfulness may be helpful for police officers include:
Helping officers manage their emotions and reactions, especially in high-stress situations
Improves communication and empathy with the public and can help officers be more present and attentive to others
Enhances decision-making skills, can provide more awareness of their biases and emotions, and help to make decisions based on logic and reason rather than being swayed by their feelings
Overall, the evidence suggests that mindfulness can be a valuable tool for police officers, helping them to better cope with the demands of the job and to serve their communities more effectively.