Mindfulness and Meditation
The high-pressure environment of college and juggling life responsibilities can cause students to develop anxiety. Meditation is a great way for individuals to center themselves and reduce stress. In addition to stress relief, practicing mindfulness and meditation can also increase focus and improve memory.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present and focusing on what's going on right now. Mindfulness helps people avoid distractions and concentrate on the work they need to do at the moment. Mindfulness can help students focus on the task on-hand and avoid being overwhelmed.
What is meditation?
Meditation is the practice of deep relaxation and calming the mind. It doesn't have to be done siting down either. Meditation can be done laying down, standing, or exercising.
Incorporate mindfulness and meditation in college
Take deep breaths
Taking a series of deep breathes for about three seconds each and slowly exhaling does wonders to calm the mind and reduce heart rate. Before starting a task, such as an exam, writing a paper, or studying, take deep breathes to reduce stress and focus the mind.
Visualize yourself being successful
Visualizing the best case scenario is a great way to overcome feelings of self-doubt and fear. Don't focus on the negative. Picture what it will look like to complete the task successfully, whether it's getting that A, completing a speech to a standing ovation, or having a positive conversation with a professor. Learn more about visualization techniques.
Do one thing at a time
Multitasking can overload the mind which can lead to students being less efficient in their work. Focus on one thing at a time. Prioritize tasks and put your full attention on one thing.
Consciously relax your body
Deep breathing is not the only way to relieve tension. Take a few moments to pause and listen to your body. Start with your head and work your way down. Focus on an area of tension, release the tension, and move on to the next part of your body. Keep taking deep breathes as you systematically release tension throughout your body. After a full body relaxation session, you will feel far less anxiety and ready to focus on the task at hand.
Did you know we have a registered nurse and doctor on campus? Visit the Health Center's webpage for their hours of operation and services.
How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal
Taking care of yourself can include other areas of wellness too. Here are some apps that can help with your physical and emotional health.
Emotional Wellness Apps
- Calm – Guided meditations, breathing exercises and combinations of music, sound effects, and soothing voices to help you sleep!
- Insight Timer – Meditate and practice mindfulness with neuroscientists, mindfulness experts, and psychologists. Find guided sessions on “how to say no,” “break the vicious cycle of addiction,” “become a better communicator,” “creating conscious relationships,” and many more!
- Stigma – A journal and mood tracking app designed to aid with anxiety and mood disorders, which also has a social networking aspect.
- 7 Cups- free and anonymous emotional support and counseling from trained active listeners who volunteer and are available 24/7 via text chat. Includes up to 300 free mindfulness exercises, videos, and mood-boosting activities.
- Sober Meditations – 12-step meditations, prayers, daily readings, and reflections for all NA, AA, Al-Anon, and more 12-step programs. Help for addiction in an easy-to-use app with hundreds of hours of content.
- Plant Nanny – Reminders to drink enough water; watch your virtual plant grow! Sleep Cycle – Track your sleep cycles.
- MyFitnessPal – Track your food: calories, healthy choices, recipes. Set physical goals, log exercises, and get support and motivation help!
- Map My Walk/Run by Under Armour – Track and map your steps for every walk or run you take, get feedback to help improve your performance, learn about new routes, and connect with others for motivation.
- Coursera – Develop your skills and mind by choosing from more than 2,000 courses about a wide range of topics; most are free!
- TED – Feed your curiosity by listening to influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, technology, and creativity.
- Duolingo – Fun and science-based ways to learn new languages for both English and non-English speakers.
- Overcast – (iOS Only) – One of the best podcast apps out there due to its uncluttered simplicity and basic design with features such as Voice Boost and 3D Touch.
Circle of 6 (iOS only) – Choose up to six trusted friends to add to your circle and send an automatic message with your location if you are in an unsafe situation.
bSafe – Create a network of trusted individuals who can use your GPS location to track your route home; send an alarm signal when you are in danger; receive a fake phone call to get out of an unsafe situation; send a trusted individual your exact location to know where to find you/pick you up.
My3 - Choose three close contacts you feel comfortable reaching out to when you’re feeling depressed. It helps you create your own safety plan asking you to think through and list your own warning signs, coping strategies, and support network so you can easily act when you recognize your warning signs