What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and your surrounding environment.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
Mindfulness and Your Grades
Research has shown that practicing mindfulness eliminates wandering thoughts, increases working memory capacity, and improves exam scores
Benefits of Mindfulness
Several studies have found that mindfulness increases positive emotions, while reducing negative emotions and stress. Research also suggests that practicing mindfulness can improve learning, memory, emotional regulation and empathy.
Studies suggest that mindfulness helps us tune out distractions and improve our memory and attention skills. This makes it easier to pay attention in class or focus when studying.
It has been suggested that practicing mindfulness can boost our immune system’s ability to fight off illness. Mindfulness can also lead to decreasing your blood pressure.
Research suggest mindfulness training makes couples more satisfied with their relationships, makes partners feel more optimistic and relaxed, and makes them feel more accepting of and closer to one and other.
Mindfulness helps people cope with stress and reduce levels of anxiety.
There is evidence suggesting that aggression, anger and hostility are decreased when one practices mindfulness.
Just do it!
It is not uncommon to find skeptics when it comes to the benefits of mindfulness. However, similar to how you cannot reap the benefits of exercise by reading about it, you will not truly understand the advantages of practicing mindfulness until you give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Practicing mindfulness is easier that you may believe. Some methods to practice mindfulness include: yoga, meditation, listening to nature, focused breathing, or anything that brings your focus to the present.
Being Mindful of Food and Substances
Being mindful of what you consume can decrease overeating/overdrinking and feeling guilty, choosing the wrong food/drinks, and becoming dependent on substances, like food and alcohol.
Being Mindful in Relationships
Become more satisfied with your relationships to prevent dwelling on the past, worrying about the future and becoming disconnected. Try and focus on listening and being open-minded, being empathetic and thinking before you speak.
Being 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.
In recent years, yoga has become more popular and research has found many mental health benefits. It can be practiced by people from all religious backgrounds. Trying different types of yoga may help find one that suits you. Types of yoga include:
- Hatha Yoga
- Vinyasa Flow
- Iyengar Yoga
- Hot Yoga
Meditation can lead to improved concentration, decreased distraction, decreased stress levels, and better coping skills.
Clearing the Mind Meditation Technique
- Sit comfortably with hands on your knees facing up
- Inhale and raise hands to the back of the 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, your hands drop back to your knees facing down
- Visualize your thoughts becoming clouds and floating away, changing and moving as clouds do
- Enjoy a moment of your clear mind, watch your thoughts float away like clouds, repeat after a few moments or as the mind wanders
U of S Resources
Practicing mindfulness if accessible – even here. There are some great U of S resources that are available here to students:
U of S Yoga Club
Whether you are a beginner with minimal experience or have been practicing yoga for years, check out the U of S Yoga Club
PAC Yoga Classes
The PAC offers yoga classes every day and puts the schedule on PAWS. Sign up for classes by calling the PAC or in person at the Customer Service Desk. Class schedule
Student Wellness Centre
If you find things in your life are becoming too much for you and are struggling to find balance help is available at the Student Wellness Centre.