Mindfulness is a term that I have been hearing and seeing online more and more. When it comes to practicing mindfulness, many people only think about meditation and conclude that they don’t have enough time to be mindful each day. The truth is that, at its core, mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment and being aware of how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
University can be a stressful time for everyone, and for many different reasons. Whether you feel overwhelmed about your classes, have problems in your relationships or are struggling with your mental or physical health, mindfulness can help. Research has found that mindfulness is associated with good psychological health. There are many ways to be more aware of yourself and to incorporate the practices of mindfulness into your daily life. Here are some of the ways I like to practice mindfulness:
As I mentioned, meditation is the first thing that many people may think of when they hear the word mindfulness. While it isn’t the only way to connect to yourself and your feelings, it is one of the most common. But meditation does not have to be sitting in silence for a long time. Simply taking a few moments to close your eyes and focus on your breathing can fit into a busy day and help you de-stress. Try guided meditation and mindfulness exercises with apps like Headspace!
Like meditation, yoga can give you a chance to take a break, slow down and acknowledge how you’re feeling – both physically and mentally. While practicing three-part breathing and noticing how you feel, you are also getting a nice and easy workout! There are lots of yoga classes at the YMCA, so go with your friends! You can even do yoga at home by following YouTube channels like blogilates.
- Listening to music
If you know me or have read my other articles, you’ll know that I love music. While you may not be as passionate about music as I am, music can help you to be more mindful. I find that music so quickly makes me aware of how I feel and can even completely change how I am feeling. Hearing others expressing the same emotions as you helps you realize and understand your feelings and know that you are not alone in them. Find your favourite songs, or a mood-related playlist, and embrace all the feels!
Journaling is another form of mindfulness that immediately comes to mind and is one that I am seeing more and more of on social media. The idea of writing a journal may seem daunting, but there are many ways to tailor it to your interests and needs. Simply writing what’s on your mind, like a diary, is one way to journal but there are lots of options out there. You can write from prompts, draw or doodle or even track your mood bullet journal style. I personally love the Five-Minute Journal. This journal prompts you to answer the same questions in the morning and at night each day.
- Going for a walk
This may seem simple, but I swear it helps. Going for a short walk to take a break from your busy day and get some fresh air is the perfect opportunity to be more aware of how you feel and the world around you. Whether it’s winter or summer, a nice walk can help clear your mind and take a step back from stressors. Try walking to the store with your roomies or walking around the park with some headphones and good music!
I hope you found these tips helpful and that you find some time to take care of yourself each day!