When was the last time you went without checking e-mails, social media, texts, news, etc. for a while? We often get caught up in sharing our memories instead of taking the time to enjoy them. Sometimes we even get so caught up in checking out other people’s awesome/wild stories to realize that we’re living our own right now. Mindfulness is about taking time to really appreciate where you are and what you’re doing. It’s also about giving yourself completely to what you’re doing. “BUT WE’RE STUDENTS DOING A MILLION-THOUSAND THINGS! WE HAVE TO MULTITASK! WE CAN’T ENJOY HOMEWORK!” I hear you. I’m a student too, and I still multitask sometimes. But there are several aspects of your life where a little rose-sniffing can do you wonders. Here are just a few:
This is probably the most common place people think of when they hear the term, “mindfulness.” Meditation, Yoga, and mindful breathing are all ways to take mindfulness a step further and they all have been proven to help reduce stress. I’ve done all of these at one point or another and they’ve been incredibly helpful. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or worn-out, give these techniques a shot! This GIF is a great place to start.
This one goes with mental health, but maybe those advanced mindfulness techniques aren’t your jam. That’s fine! Just treat yo self and do your normal de-stressing (i.e.- Watch your favorite show, listen to some music, draw/paint/color, exercise, read, etc.), but do it without your phone. Or at least consider putting it on airplane mode. I promise 30 minutes to an hour without your phone blowing up won’t hurt a thing. It’ll allow you to focus 100% on re-energizing so you can put that energy back into the things you’re setting aside.
I don’t know about you, but I have definitely had several hang-outs with friends where we just sit on our laptops and share funny things we see every few minutes. Those aren’t the most memorable moments I’ve shared with my friends. Go out to dinner and keep your phone in your pocket. Or when you’re hanging out with a group of people you love, take a second to be grateful for them. You don’t have to vocalize it, but you can take a little mental snapshot and remember how great they made you feel. In college, you have the luxury of having lots of great people surrounding you, but it may only last for four years before it gets harder to spend time together. Don’t take it for granted! (Can you tell I’m a nostalgic senior, yet? Heh heh. *cries*)
Okay stick with me on this one. What if…giving your full attention to your homework will help you get it done sooner? I have four roommates and they are so fun to goof around with, but when I need to get something done, I face the fact that I can’t focus on something for more than 20 minutes when those friends are home and I go to a study spot on campus. If roommates aren’t what distract you, figure out what does and cut it out of your life or at least find a way to minimize it for the amount time you need to get your homework done. Homework can be stressful enough as it is. Don’t let multitasking drain you even more!
You don’t need to do yoga every morning, or meditate before bed to be a mindful person. All you need to do is give yourself the focus you deserve. Make one small change at a time and before you know it, you’ll make a habit of stopping to smell the roses.
(P.s. If being mindful is your jam, consider reaching out to Mindful @ Iowa, the university’s mindfulness student org. Be sure to click on the “profile” tab to see more info/link to Facebook page!)