Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to help middle and high school students as well as college students conquer stress and anxiety, and reach their academic and future goals. In this introductory video learn the benefits of mindfulness for students and participate in a short exercise that can be used in the future. I will tell you my two favorite FREE mindfulness apps too!
Don’t have time to check out the video? No worries. Here’s the gist of it.
Mindfulness involves using all your senses, thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions to be present in the moment. With mindfulness we have the opportunity to learn how to respond to our emotions rather than react. Mindfulness has proven to have many benefits, especially, for students. Using mindfulness can help you meet your academic and future goals. While some students are making excellent grades, they may be experiencing a lot of stress with trying to keep up with the workload or staying organized. Mindfulness can help them manage their emotional well being, thus also positively affecting their physical health. Students who have practiced mindfulness have experienced better self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
For mindfulness to work, we have to really try it. And in the beginning, it might seem weird or pointless. But, keep in mind that this is new and different and with practice this will be beneficial to you. If we don’t try it, we can’t determine if it is useful for ourselves or not. So, let’s list some ways that you might find mindfulness to be useful and relevant in your own life.
Raise your hand if you have ever:
- said something you wish you could take back?
- done something that you later regretted?
- felt angry and out of control?
- felt nervous or anxious about an exam or performance?
- been in a bad mood but not sure why?
- been in a bad mood but not even sure what emotion it is?
- felt like you need a break and want everyone to just leave you alone?
- had trouble falling asleep because your mind won’t be quiet or your body feels restless?
- been accidentally spacing out in class when the teacher calls on you?
- noticed that you do much better at sports or music when you are really focused?
Our emotions are continually changing. Difficult emotions like anger, fear, worry, and stress actually release chemicals in our brain that prevent us from learning, and can make us react and say and do things we didn’t want to. Mindfulness stops these chemicals.
So how can you incorporate mindfulness into your schoolwork? Ready to give it a try?
There are some things to know before we start. So, in practice there is a leap from the big picture we just discussed to very simple techniques. We will be mindful of sound, breath, movement, thoughts, emotions, and other things. We will be paying attention on purpose for a short period of time.
Every time we practice mindfulness, we start by getting in a mindful posture. A mindful posture has five guidelines:
- Facing forward
- Back is upright
- Put your hands on your lap or beside you.
- Be still
- Be Quiet
- Mind and body are relaxed yet alert
- Letting your eyes close
Ok. Now that you are in a comfortable seated position let’s begin.
- Start by taking one breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Now, close your eyes and take one deep breath.
- Now take three breaths, but just normal breaths, don’t deliberately change it.
- Now, take three breaths, this time noticing what you are feeling, hearing, touching, tasting, seeing (in your mind).
- If you feel any kind of stress take a deep breath.
- Picture this in your mind:
You are getting ready to take a test and feel relaxed because you are well prepared and know the material. You pick up your pencil and with a positive attitude you write your name at the top of the paper. You read and understand the directions. You work through the test easily completing each question. You answer the last question and have enough time to check your answers. You hand in your test and are confident that you will get the grade you want. Imagine rewarding yourself for your hard work and feeling satisfied with your success.
The goal with this exercise is for you to feel confident and relaxed to start studying or take a test. It is an easy and great exercise to do before a test or beginning a study session. If at any time you lose focus during this exercise just take a deep breath and re-focus.
I hope you continue to try mindfulness and that you find it helps you. My favorite FREE apps are Insight Timer and Breathe. Breathe is a great introduction to mindfulness and Insight Timer is a great app for finding guided meditations. You can search by topic and/ or length. Namaste.
Melanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator who trained with Mindful Schools. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“