Are You Feeling Stressed About Everything University Is Throwing at You?
The good news is that you are not alone. Practicing mindfulness is a helpful technique that can benefit you. Along with lowering your stress levels, bringing your mind to a state of focused awareness can improve your ability to feel happy and feel good! By improving your self-awareness and understanding of your body, you can feel better equipped to tackle the challenges of school.
What is Mindfulness?
Practicing “mindfulness” means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and your surrounding environment.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that you should pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without immediately judging them. When you practice mindfulness, you tune into what you are sensing in the present moment, rather than spending time rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Mindfulness and Your Grades
Research has shown that practicing mindfulness reduces wandering thoughts, increases working memory capacity, and improves exam scores—all of which should help you achieve your academic goals!
Benefits of Mindfulness
Studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions while reducing negative emotions and stress. They also suggest that practicing mindfulness can improve emotional regulation and empathy.
Mindfulness helps tune out distractions and improve your memory and attentiveness. This makes it easier to focus in class or when studying.
Mindfulness can help you cope with stress and reduce your levels of anxiety. It can also prepare you to identify and deal with the causes of stress in your life.
Research suggests that practicing mindfulness can boost the immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Mindfulness can also lead to decreased blood pressure.
Mindfulness training can make couples more satisfied in their relationships, and make partners feel more optimistic, relaxed, and accepting of each other.
Aggression, anger, and hostility are decreased when one practices mindfulness.
Just Do It!
It isn’t uncommon for people to be skeptical about the benefits of mindfulness. However, just as you can’t reap the benefits of exercise by reading about it, you will not truly understand the effectiveness of mindfulness until you give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Practicing mindfulness is easier that you might think. Techniques include yoga, meditation, listening to nature, focused breathing, walking/running, or anything that brings your focus to the present moment.
Be Mindful of Food and Substances
Being mindful of what you consume can decrease overeating, overdrinking and corresponding feelings of guilt. Practice mindfulness to make better choices about food and drink and to avoid becoming dependent on substances.
Be Mindful in Relationships
Become more satisfied in your relationships to prevent dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, and becoming disconnected. Focus on listening, staying open-minded, being empathetic, and thinking before you speak. Notice what relationships support you.
Be a Mindful Student
Being a mindful student can help you relax, focus, and accomplish your goals. Practice mindfulness at school by turning off your phone while studying, concentrating on one task at a time, visualizing yourself writing an exam before starting, and taking short study breaks when you start to lose focus.
Research has found there are many health benefits associated with practicing yoga. You don’t need to have a specific spiritual background to participate. Try different types of yoga to find a style that suits you best! Types of yoga include:
- Vinyasa Flow
Meditation can lead to improved concentration, decreased distraction, lowered stress levels, and better coping skills.
Clearing the Mind Meditation
- Sit with your hands on your knees facing up.
- Inhale and raise your hands to the back of your head bringing fingertips together. Visualize all your thoughts being gathered in your hands.
- Exhale and push the thoughts up and away in front of your head. Allow your hands to drop back to your knees facing down.
- Visualize your thoughts becoming clouds and floating away.
- Enjoy for a moment your clear mind. Watch your thoughts float away like clouds. Repeat after a few moments or as the mind wanders.
Resources on Campus
There are some great resources available at the university for students interested in mindfulness.
Whether you are a beginner with minimal experience or have been practicing yoga for years, you are welcome to register for a term-long club.
The PAC offers both pre-registered and drop-in classes every day. Sign up by calling or visiting the PAC, or check out the class schedule online.
Mindfulness Meditation Sessions
The university offers weekly drop-in guided mindfulness sessions. Check out the schedule.
Counseling for Students
If things in your life are becoming too much to handle and you are struggling to find balance, free help is available for students at Student Wellness Centre.
Mindful Breathing Meditation