Mindfulness could benefit elementary school students’ mental health, but little is known about the mechanisms of mindfulness in the elementary school context. The current studies explored mindfulness’s relationship to stress and anxiety in elementary school students and potential mediators in the connections from proximal and distal perspectives.
In Study 1, a daily diary approach was used to examine the mediating role of cognitive flexibility on mindfulness’s dynamic association to stress and anxiety. In Study 2, we examined the longitudinal relationships between mindfulness at baseline and stress and anxiety at 6-month follow-up and the mediating roles of self-awareness (i.e., self-esteem and self-identity) and social environment (i.e., student-teacher relationship and peer relationship).
From a proximal perspective, cognitive flexibility mediated the negative relationship of state mindfulness to stress and anxiety. From a distal standpoint, self-esteem mediated the relationship between dispositional mindfulness and anxiety. Perceived peer relationship mediated the association of dispositional mindfulness to stress and anxiety.
For elementary school students, state mindfulness showed immediate effects, and dispositional mindfulness showed long-term effects on reducing anxiety and stress through different mechanisms. Limitations and implications were discussed.

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