• Patti Raspolich

Practicing Mindfulness

Photo courtesy of mindful.org

Being in college is a very stressful time in most students’ lives. Between homework, studying for exams, participating in extra-curriculars and possibly maintaining a job, it can seem like you have no free time to relax and unwind, which can be very overwhelming. While in college, we are told we are supposed to “find ourselves.” Unfortunately for most students, the heavy workloads take over and allow little time to figure out who you want to be and what your passions are.

With the struggle to balance our schedules, this can be a difficult time in many students’ lives. Recent studies show that practicing mindfulness allows students to get the most out of every day without feeling overwhelmed. Mindfulness is “an approach to life that involves learning to give the bulk of your attention to your present-moment experience,” (Rogers, 2016).

The practice of mindfulness allows one to live in the moment, instead of worrying about the future or regretting the past. Allowing ourselves to live in the present directs our attention to what is happening right now, in front of our eyes. As stated in the book “The Mindful Twenty-Something,” “Mindfulness develops self-awareness that informs all of your important life choices.” Thus, investing time in mindfulness can prove to be beneficial for college students, who are frequently making significant decisions.

So how does one practice mindfulness? Holly Rogers, author of “The Mindful Twenty-Something,” explains that this involves paying close attention to everyday activities, such as brushing your teeth, and feeling each sensation as it happens. As we develop our mindfulness muscle, we learn to completely inhabit the present moment. This ability to experience each moment as it is happening allows for gratitude towards the everyday parts of life, like walking to class or listening to your favorite song.

During college, it may be difficult to sleep and eat, let alone find time to practice mindfulness. Although sleeping and eating are vital to one’s health, the ability to practice mindfulness will most likely prove to be extremely beneficial as well. One study done at Duke University shows that 10 minutes a day of mindfulness for four weeks had a considerable impact on the students’ lives, including helping them sleep better, lower stress levels, and develop greater self-compassion.

While it may seem like a waste of time to practice the idea of living in the moment, the benefits of mindfulness are far beyond learning to live in the now. If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness, there will be a workshop for USF students hosted in room 328 of the Motherhouse. The workshop will be held every Wednesday from February 1 until March 1. In addition, to learn how to make the most of your twenties, check out the book “The Mindful Twenty-Something,” or visit her website.

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