With the semester closing in about three weeks, you’re either completely content with your courses right now or freaking the heck out about finals.
And that’s okay and natural! In fact, a good dose of anxiety every now and then is proven to be healthy, and can even motivate you to make some life improvements. However, it’s obviously not healthy to be stressed out 100% of the time. With finals nearing, you want to make sure that you’re treating your mind and body with kindness so that you can do your best! Mindfulness is a popular therapeutic technique that helps people cope with unhealthy amounts of stress. It forces you to stop living on “autopilot” and be aware of your actions, and, as a result, is extremely calming! Here are seven quick mindfulness techniques to help you breeze through this finals season.
1. listen to music with your eyes closed
I specifically say “with your eyes closed” because it’s easy to listen to music all the time. There’s a good chance that you listen to music when you walk to class, drive to work, or just do homework, but very rarely do we take the time to actually process the sounds that we’re blasting into our ears. Close your eyes and take a moment to pay attention to the instruments and sounds and ground yourself in the melody!
2. use your non-dominant hand to eat
Seriously. Next time you sit down to eat a meal, turn off all distractions and use your non-dominant hand to eat. It’ll be uncomfortable and new at first, but it forces you to pay attention to the process. This one surprised me, but it really works. Plus, it’s convenient: you don’t have to go out of your way to do anything particularly special!
I know we have a lot of studying to do and we’re pressed for time when it comes to mindfulness techniques, but don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to download a whole app or devote hours to meditation. There are so many podcasts that now offer guided meditations, and you can find a lot on YouTube, too. A channel that I love is Calm. Here’s one of their ten-minute-long daily meditations.
I think a lot of people tried keeping a diary when they were younger and eventually abandoned it, but journaling actually has so many benefits. Even if it’s just for five minutes, take the time to write down your thoughts and feelings for the day. This forces you to be aware of the present and remember everything that’s already happened. There are also just a lot of really cute journals out there. Take advantage of that.
Most people either have a love or hate relationship with yoga. I get it (since I personally hate yoga), but there are so many benefits to practicing yoga that we should really do it more often. It’s proven to also help with sleep and keep a balanced metabolism. Even if it’s not your favorite thing in the world, maybe consider just stretching for a couple minutes and giving your body the chance to breathe! You can find a surplus of guided yoga videos on Youtube.
6. tech detox
I know that in a world where we need technology to do coursework, it can be difficult to distance ourselves from it. However, our devices contribute to stress in more ways than one. They pull us away from direct experiences, emails and notifications can be anxiety-inducing, and social media is just… a lot. Take a moment to silence your phone or track how much time you spend on it.
When you feel that tightness in your chest, remember to let it go. When stress hits you, remember to breathe. You got this. You will succeed! Close your eyes, take long deep breaths, and exhale slowly. Ground yourself in this moment. You’ll pass this semester with flying colors — you just need to take care of yourself first to get there.
I hope this article was helpful for anyone struggling to keep calm right now. Good luck with finals!