Are you ready to find out the secret to student wellbeing? Do you want to know the practice that has been proven to improve your mental health, reduce depression and anxiety and cognitively improve your chances of becoming a better student with a better memory and increased attention skills? Read on to find out more.
What is Mindfulness?
You’ve probably heard of Mindfulness. But do you know what it is and how it can benefit you? The definition of mindfulness is the “state of being conscious or aware of something.” Sounds simple enough, right? It’s more than just meditation though, mindfulness is an entire mindset that can include breathing practices, gratitude activities, habit releasers, and mind exercises. There is no one way to practice mindfulness. But there are some ways that you can implement it into your daily life to improve your health and wellbeing.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness has many psychosocial and physical benefits. First of all, it has been proven to significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Learning to be mindful can have a positive effect on a person’s mental wellbeing. A study by Boston University researched the effectiveness of mindfulness-based therapies on anxiety and depression and the results showed that mindfulness is a promising intervention for treating these issues.
There has also been scientific research on how the practice of mindfulness can make cognitive improvements to memory, emotional and social intelligence, and overall cognitive performance. When you actively listen during your lessons, you are training your brain to absorb more structured information. Being mindful improves your memory so you remember every word you scribbled down during that lecture and are more likely to retain the information you need to complete your various assignments and tasks. Listening and reading mindfully can improve your academic performance, what more could you ask for?
Mindfulness also improves your emotional intelligence, which means you are more aware of your emotions and the emotions of those around you. Increasing your emotional intelligence will enable you to handle challenges better and have more empathy toward others. Also, mindfulness has been shown to improve cognitive performance when doing time-sensitive tasks such as exams and tests. Research in Taiwan discovered that when their students took part in a a mindfulness meditation course for one semester, they showed significant improvement in their academic performance when tested.
The Research Behind Mindfulness
There have been various studies on mindfulness and the link between academic performance and productivity. A study in neuroscience revealed that “Mindfulness practices dampen activity in our amygdala and increase the connections between the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Both of these parts of the brain help us to be less reactive to stressors and to recover better from stress when we experience it.” There has also been research by the American Psychology Association that found many strong links between mindfulness and increased focus, working memory and overall happiness, and wellbeing.
The Challenges Many Students Face
Being a student can be challenging. There are many pressures and obstacles that you face during your education journey. It’s important to look after yourself and mindfulness practice is a way you can keep calm, focused, and present, so you know when something is wrong and you can address it. Mindfulness is not a one size fits all approach to wellbeing and it can’t help you overcome more serious issues, but it is a tool that, when used effectively, can make a big impact on your mental health and overall happiness as a student.
Implementing Mindfulness Into Your Life
So what’s the best way to start implementing mindfulness into your daily life? One way you can practice mindfulness is by doing breathing exercises. Take five or ten minutes out of your day to concentrate on breathing. You don’t even need to do any fancy deep breathing techniques, just close your eyes, put your hand on your chest and stomach and focus on your breath. Another great way to practice mindfulness, which works well for the stressed-out student, is to do the five senses exercise. It’s a simple technique that helps with grounding. Go through your senses, one by one, and list three things you see, hear, smell, feel and taste. If you like to write, you could try a mindfulness journal or you could try a body scan meditation if you find you are feeling stress and tension in areas of your body.
Mindfulness is a powerful practice that has the potential to change your life as a student. Give it a go and don’t be afraid to try different things and see what works for you. Mindfulness doesn’t need to be complicated, a chore, or something you tick off on your to-do list, it’s a wonderful practice that allows you to be fully present and be the best you that you can be.