Managing Stress Through Mindfulness
Mindfulness: “Awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness improves your overall well being: It helps you become more fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events.
Mindfulness improves your physical health: Scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.
Mindfulness improves your mental health: Mindfulness helps reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and is used to effectively treat substance abuse, eating disorders, relationship problems, obsessive compulsive disorders and many other mental health issues.
Mindfulness Exercises for Students
1. Learn to Meditate
Meditation is perhaps the best possible way to cultivate mindfulness. Practicing quieting your busy mind is an important step towards achieving the clarity necessary to focus on a hard task.
2. Crank Up the Tunes
Had a long day? Resist the urge to channel surf and instead unwind with a relaxing playlist. Calming melodies and the soothing sounds of ocean waves, rainfall, and birds chirping can be inspiring, energize us, and lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety all at the same time.
3. Remember to Breathe
Concentrating on your breath is one of the oldest forms of practicing mindfulness. Sometimes, the simple act of counting your breaths is all it takes to dial you into the present and keep your mind from running wild.
4. Visualize Your Best You
Famous athletes, high-powered executives, and actors have long used guided visualization as means to calm nerves, curb self-doubt, and prepare for a big game.
In this mindfulness-based exercise, you go through the details of a specific event and imagine the desired outcome you wish to achieve.
Take a make-or-break biology midterm, for example. If you’re someone with testing anxiety, find a quiet place at home and picture your best test day scenario. Spend anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes running it through your head, starting from when you wake up. Go through the ideal morning routine that gets your there on time and the confident feeling you get as you walk into class, take out your pen, breathe, and answer each question correctly.
5. Keep a Journal
Research shows that practicing gratitude can improve overall well-being and foster resilience. So when the stakes are high, the job search is on, and uncertainty lingers, the simple task of taking the time to reflect on who and what you’re grateful for can prove life-changing.
Apps for Guided Meditation: Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, Abide
Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness for Students by Stella Cottrell
Mindful Learning: Reduce stress and improve brain performance for effective learning by Dr. Craig Hassed and Dr. Richard Chambers