By: Claremont Lincoln University
Whether you are a freshman just starting out at college, someone coming back to complete your bachelor’s degree program, or a degree holder ready for a master’s, college can be rewarding, exciting—and stressful. Mindfulness can help you combat the latter, while you embrace the excitement and rewards.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of being present in the moment, totally aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. You’re present in your heart, soul, and mind in a way that is patient, accepting, trusting, and non-judgmental. You’re not worried about that test you didn’t ace or the project you haven’t started. Instead, you slow down, let go, and appreciate where you are in the moment.
Mindfulness Can Alleviate Stress in College
College can be stressful. There are schedules and deadlines, tests and grades, and lots of what-ifs that can set your mind spinning. But present-moment awareness can increase your resilience toward stress. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness can alleviate stress and anxiety, and even help with depression. Mindfulness reduces activity in your amygdala, the part of the brain associated with your anxiety and stress response. In a state of mindfulness, you are more aware of your thoughts and able to step back from potential stressors. The more you practice mindfulness, the better you become at coping with stress. Instead of avoiding negative emotions such as anxiety, you have a tool to fend them off. And because you have this tool, you can feel more confident about handling stressful situations when they arise.
Mindfulness Can Improve Your Memory
When you practice mindfulness, you train your brain to tune out distractions such as background noises, buzzing phones, and intrusive thoughts. This helps you stay present and can also improve your memory. Research has noted positive changes to the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for your memory—in those who practice mindfulness. Important skills you use to study, complete coursework, and take tests, including problem-solving, language comprehension, and reasoning, may all be improved through the consistent use of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness Can Help You Concentrate in College
As you sit down to study, your phone rings. Your child asks for your help with something, or an email pops up on your computer screen. Before you know it, your allotted study time is almost up, and you have no energy left to hit the books. When you move from task to task, your ability to concentrate can decrease, which can negatively impact your attempts to study or complete coursework. But mindfulness can teach you how to bounce back from distractions and return to the task at hand. In fact, studies show that just 10 minutes of mindfulness a day can rewire your brain for better concentration.
Mindfulness Can Impact Your Physical and Mental Health
Mindfulness also has practical impacts on your overall well-being. For example, studies have shown that mindfulness-based therapies can successfully be used to treat depression, even in people who have experienced severe depressive episodes. Although you may not suffer from depression, mindfulness can help you cope with negative thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can also improve physical health. Other studies have linked the use of mindfulness techniques to a boosted immune system, reduced pain and fatigue, and faster recovery from the cold and flu. Mindfulness can positively impact your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and may even help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The better your health, the better you can focus on your studies and attaining your degree.
Mindfulness Techniques to Help You in College
The most basic mindfulness technique involves sitting comfortably for five to 10 minutes, feeling the sensation of your breaths, noticing when your mind wanders, and pulling it back to the present moment. Some techniques include relaxing visualizations or listening to calming sounds like rain falling or white noise. Others encourage you to walk slowly, or to look around the room and observe what you see, hear, or smell to bring you back to the present moment. No matter how you practice mindfulness, your college experience can benefit when you choose to stay present.
At Claremont Lincoln University, we understand the value that mindfulness can bring to your college experience. We incorporate mindfulness into our curriculum through the Claremont Core®, an integrated process of personal and professional development. We believe that mindfulness can cultivate compassion for yourself and others, and lead to positive change. Whether you pursue a degree in social impact, healthcare administration, or organizational leadership, you’ll find that mindfulness is the core of your studies.Call 909-667-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.