How many more weeks until Spring Break? Just one?
Spring Break means long, relaxing days… and, for some, another round of heavy testing and project work. Queue the all-nighters and stress.
We have already chatted about ways to deal with stress, so we won't go into too much detail about that, but you can hit the high points here. We’ll wait...
Now that you are back, let’s talk about another form of stress relief that’s worth knowing about. Have you heard of mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of peaceful thinking. Basically being aware of your thoughts, feelings, body and environment.
Simply put: paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Mindfulness operates on the basis of there is no "right" or "wrong" way to think or feel during that specific moment.
When we practice mindfulness, we tune into what we are sensing in the present moment rather than the past or the future.
Why would you want to do this?
For starters … it only takes a few moments out of your day and you can pretty much do it anywhere and don't need any special tools. Oh … and the benefits are pretty awesome, too.
Maybe the most important benefit: a decrease in stress. Who doesn't want that?
Some other benefits include:
- Higher brain function
- Better immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased awareness
- Increased attention and focus
- Increased clarity in thinking and perception
- Lower anxiety levels
Sounds pretty great, right?
So how do you practice mindfulness?
It’s actually pretty easy to start being mindful. You can do this at home, in the library or pretty much anywhere.
Here is what to do:
Set aside some time.
Stressed out with midterm studying? Take a few moments away from the textbook but not on Netflix. Just close your eyes and start tuning out the world around you and tune into yourself.
Observe the present moment as it is.
Don't quiet the mind or attempt complete peace but just pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. Tell yourself you are here and you are well.
Let the judgment pass.
Take a mental note of them but don't think on it. It is not worth your time.
Be kind to your mind.
Don't judge yourself for whatever thoughts come up as you practice. Your mind will wander, just gently bring it back.
Sounds pretty simple right? A few moments every day can do some amazing things for your stress levels and your mind.
Maybe this isn't your cup of tea. There are other ways to be mindful. Here are a few:
Start a gratitude journal.
Jot down a list of things you were grateful for each day. It doesn't have to be a long list, but each item needs to be specific and well thought out.
BONUS: these journals are great pick-me-ups for when you are feeling down.
Prioritize what you NEED to get done verses what you WANT to get done. Then focus on one task at a time. This way, your mind isn’t overloaded and the task is given the attention it needs.
Put your phone down
How many great conversations get interrupted or not even started because of our phones. Mindfulness is all about being in the moment, and you can’t do that if you're not present to witness it.
Instead of zoning out on your walk to class, take notice of the trees and flowers on the beautifully orange campus. You will be grateful of the world we live in.
#DYK: OSY has a walking course on campus. Try it out!
Do what you love
Take some time out of the day for your passions and hobbies. This doesn’t include Netflix. Sorry not sorry.
The best part about mindfulness is that it is completely up to you how you practice it! Try it out, you can thank us later.
Tell us how you practice mindfulness on social media using #iamokstate. Until next time, Cowboys!