Incorporating mindfulness into your day
Second Year Psychology with Criminology student, Lauren Pearson, shares her student friendly approach to mindfulness.
Life is pretty tough at the moment and I think we could all do with a little break from the events that are going on. As we study, read the news and try to balance all our other commitments, we can become overwhelmed and exhausted.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness aims to relieve some of these feelings by being engaged in the present moment and making a special effort to notice what is happening within your mind and body.
Noticing the thoughts you have, without placing judgement on them, can give yourself a chance to really slow down.
This is particularly important when studying as thoughts about future deadlines and working towards the next exam can consume us.
My struggles with mindfulness
Mindfulness initially sounded like quite a difficult concept for me, as I thought that other parts of my daily schedule should have priority over a few minutes of down time. I couldn’t initially see the physical output of being mindful, so I thought that taking time out of my day to essentially ‘do nothing’ would make me unproductive. But the benefits of dedicating just a few minutes a day to mindfulness are immense, including sleeping better and procrastinating less.
Discovering how mindfulness works best for you
Mindfulness doesn’t look the same for everyone. A few examples of mindfulness activities include going for a walk, doing exercise, painting, meditating and listening to music. The truth is, lots of activities can be an opportunity to remain in the present moment- some people even find that turning their phone off and having a cup of tea gives them a chance to attend to how they feel. The important thing here is that YOU decide which form of mindfulness works best for you.
I have found that journaling works particularly well for me. The process of actually writing things down helps me to sharpen my focus on the activity and turn my attention inwards. Journaling simply involves writing down thoughts, feelings and anything else that you’ve noticed about yourself in that day. It can be helpful to acknowledge how you feel and pay attention to your needs.
If you’re interested in journaling, my top three tips are:
- Find the journaling technique that works for you. Don’t feel pressured to write things in a notebook if that isn’t your style, some people like to record voice notes while out on a walk or write things down on their phone – it doesn’t need to feel like a chore.
- If you’re stuck for what to actually write, you could start with what events have happened that day and how they made you feel, or things that you’re grateful for or reasons why you’re proud of yourself. It can be helpful to review what you write to notice patterns in your thinking at the end of the week
- Trying not to edit your thoughts before you put them onto the page can be difficult – but being honest with yourself and how you really feel is worth it.
Below is a list of resources Lauren has recommended:
- NHS mindfulness information
- NHS free bedtime meditation video
- NHS free yoga video
- Headspace meditation app
- Mind mental health charity
The University also has some resources and events available to staff and students:
Health and Wellbeing
Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.