If you're interested in upping your self care game while you're in school, it's important to get some practice in mindfulness. Mindfulness, simply put, is the practice of learning how to pay attention to yourself and your experiences in the moment you are feeling them.
With how busy our world is, it's not hard to forget to pay attention to ourselves and our needs, but mindfulness is a great way to enhance your self-care and daily peace of mind. Mindfulness in college is especially important as it can help us manage our emotions during stressful times.
Here are three sure-fire ways to start practicing mindfulness this week.
1. To get the hang of it, try meditation.
Mindfulness is all about being open to yourself and your experiences. A great way to tap into that is by practicing meditation. (See our guide to meditation in college to get started.) Whether you use an app for help or simply sit and observe your breathing, just taking a moment to quietly get in touch with yourself is a great way to start.
Later, once mindfulness becomes more routine, it can help you pull focus to your body's reaction to stress or negative emotion, and lead to better personal responses to the stimuli. That brings us to step two.
2. Listen to your body first and respond carefully.
I think it would be fair to say that people, as a rule, always react with emotion. Anger, happiness, sadness -- they are all similar because of the strong feelings and sensations they elicit. Mindfulness, however, is a way to tap into every facet of those feelings and respond in kind.
For instance, in a quiet moment, you may be able to take the time to break down your feelings. If you're feeling angry, are there more contributing factors than the present moment? Are you tired/hungry/frustrated about something else? What's really going on?
By checking in with yourself and really thinking about the why behind your feelings, you can better prepare solutions and understanding in mere moments. And that brings us to step three.
3. Make time to meet your physical, emotional and mental needs.
Mindfulness can actually help you take better care of yourself. How, you may ask? Essentially, the practice can lead to becoming more aware to the tics of your body, and how to correct them or ease them.
Let's say that you notice that you are more inclined to anger during a busy day. By checking in with yourself, you may realize that you're not actually mad, or even annoyed: you're worn out or hungry! By taking the time to consider the contributing factors, you can find an easy solution (i.e. pack a snack to eat before X class or take a nap in between lectures) to a larger emotional problem.
Not quite sure what causes what emotion? That's okay! Trial and error are always recommended, even with mindfulness. If you need to refer to the hierarchy of needs or a self-care chart/interactive guide to remind you of basic things you can do to comfort yourself, go for it! Mindfulness is all about being aware of the best ways to help yourself.
What do you think?
Do you practice mindfulness? How do you comfort yourself and bolster your happiness in college? What are some things going on in your life, and how can CF help? Let us know in the comments!