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What is it? How can it help you?

Quick Intro to Mindfulness

The day of a student can be stressful. From having to meet deadlines on lengthy projects, working with unmotivated colleagues, cramming for exams and perhaps even doing a part time job to pay the bills on top. With so much work piling up, it can be easy for our minds to be carried away in our thoughts. Focusing on the stressful situation we get caught up in unhelpful patterns of thinking and responding. By becoming aware of this we can break unwanted patterns. Mindfulness can help with this.

We often do not notice the powerful role attention has in impacting what and how we think. When our minds are captivated in the moment it becomes difficult to separate ourselves from our experience. When in stressful or emotionally charged situations, the crucial skill of self-awareness can be important in breaking unwanted patterns. We can improve our self-awareness by practicing mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation focusing on awareness in the present moment. This could be simply focusing the attention on the breath.  Through practice we can learn to detach from our thoughts and feelings. This helps us view them objectively and slowly helps us realise that we are not what we think and feel.Our thoughts and emotions, although valid and important, don?t define who we are as a person.

Although it is difficult to wrap our heads around this at first, it makes sense because our thoughts and moods change over time. Our experiences enable us to continually develop and change beliefs, and subsequently our thinking changes. Your mind is very different now to how it was as a child, and will be different again by the time you have finished your studies. Our mind is always changing and adapting, it?s not fixed, and our experience is susceptible to a certain degree of change.   

During mindful meditation we focus on the breath coming in and out of the body. Thoughts, sensations and feelings pop in and capture our attention, but we just acknowledge them and then focus back on the breath. The practice of doing this repeatedly helps us understand that we can consciously direct our attention and so choose what to focus on and what to ignore.

When overwhelmed, stressed or tired why not take a break? Taking a simple 5 minutes to just sit down and focus on your breathing can help you come away from unhelpful thoughts. With practice you can learn to detach from your thoughts and  focus your attention on thoughts which are more positive, helpful, and productive.

By David

Student USW