As a college student, it’s pretty hard to put yourself first; with endless hours of classes and the impossible balance between homework and friends, finding some “you time” seems to be impossible. However, extensive research shows that the practice of ~mindfulness~ can help.
What is Mindfulness?
- By definition, mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing.” Basically, by practicing mindfulness, we are able to snap back to reality and recognize what we are doing and how we are feeling. So much of our day to day routines include veering from the present moment. With a lot of practice, we can use mindfulness to help us to really live in the moment, which is what life is all about in the first place, right?
Why should I try it?
- It is easy to forget to put ourselves first-Let’s face it. Every single one of us has a lot on our plates. We try so hard to graciously juggle the seemingly millions of priorities that we have and it always seems like we are not doing enough. While prioritizing tasks is important, we oftentimes forget to prioritize ourselves. Think about it—when was the last time that you did something for you? Not for a class, not for a friend, but for you and your own well-being? In making the practice of mindfulness a habit, we naturally begin to include ourselves in our list of priorities. I cannot stress the importance of self-care enough; it is crucial to success in and out of school.
- It reduces stress and anxiety—As someone who struggles greatly with anxiety, I can tell you that mindfulness has become my best friend. In the moments that I cannot seem to gain control, I turn to mindfulness to help me cool down and get a grip.
- It is proven to help our attention spans— the daunting task of doing a 3-hour chemistry lab doesn’t seem half as bad with mindfulness under your belt. Studies have shown that by actively incorporating self-awareness into our lives, we are more likely to develop useful focusing skills that all of us so desperately need! A boost in productivity and mental clarity definitely can’t hurt!
How do I do it?
- Meditation- In my opinion, meditation is the absolute best thing to ever exist. No, meditation is not complete nonsense that is only practiced by hippies. It is actually an increasingly common practice that has a positive impact on millions of lives. Meditation consists of breathing and concentration exercises that are relaxing as well as extremely beneficial to your health. Do yourself a favor and download the app “Headspace” on your phone. The app talks you through different meditations, all suited to your individual moods and lifestyle; no two people are the same and this app does a great job at recognizing that. If you feel weird being talked through meditation exercises, I recommend downloading a white noise app and just taking long, slow and deep breaths.
- Journaling- Writing down how you feel and when you feel it can help you to notice patterns in your behavior or in the environment around you. Overtime, this awareness can help us to make positive changes in our routines.
- Yoga—Yoga helps us to connect with both our body and our mind. Focusing on the exact position of our bodies and on our breathing is something that helps to build self-awareness, which connects to practicing mindfulness. Check out Yes Yoga on Oak Street or Wild Lotus Yoga on Perrier Street for some awesome classes!
COVER PHOTO: Sabrina Kogut
Hope you find these suggestions beneficial, and let us know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks that help you practice mindfulness!