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Mindfulness: Less Stress, More Awareness.

Mindfulness: Less Stress, More Awareness.

Yoga, spirituality, meditation and mindfulness have invaded mainstream media. It’s almost impossible to scroll through my Instagram feed without coming across pictures of people practicing yoga in perfectly posed studios or in a serene natural landscape. Spirituality, meditation and mindfulness have arguably replaced much of millennials’ worshipping practices — swapping the Western tradition of church or temple with the ancient Indian tradition of yoga and meditation.

In all honesty, I’m not too into yoga. I spent two years of high school practicing yoga instead of having a regular “gym” class and it wasn’t my cup of tea. However, I can affirm the belief that yoga helps relieve stress and clear the mind. What works for me, won’t work for others and practicing yoga is a personal choice people may make. During our “YES” program sessions, we also practiced breathing techniques and conflict resolutions. Using the different techniques of the program, high school aged students often achieved a type of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

In basic terms, mindfulness refers to a person’s ability to be fully present, aware of where they are and what they’re doing. This also includes accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations when trying to achieve the mental state of awareness in oneself.

Mindfulness is important because it reduces stress.  Mindfulness helps with stress management; a skill that is often overlooked. By grounding yourself to the present, instead of focusing on what has happened that day that’s been good or bad, you allow yourself to acknowledge your daily occurrence of life and better concentrate in the moment.

This is especially important when 85% of students report feeling overwhelmed by the demands of college.

Are colleges getting the message?

Meditation is an ancient practice. However, not until recently have meditation classes, programs, and centers on college campuses become more commonplace. I guess colleges are finally realizing that growing mindfulness-oriented programs helps with a myriad of common college woes.

Meditation benefits include:

  • Increased focus
  • Improved memory
  • Reduction in anxiety and stress
  • Reduction in fatigue
  • And lastly, immunity boosts.

 

While yoga and meditation might not be for everyone, it’s worth a try if you are someone who has high demands and often morph into a classifiable stress monster. New experiences are part of student life and by engaging your surroundings, you’ll gain a new perspective and broaden your horizons.

Here are some resources you can try out in your quest for mindfulness:

Simple mindfulness exercises

Headspace – a guided meditation app (first 10 sessions are free)

GoNoodle – great for kids, but also adults (my favorite is the Flow- Melting activity).

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About Lesly Guzman

Current college student at NEIU in Chicago, Illinois, future psychologist that serves the world. Self proclaimed Xicana and also feminist (an oh so controversial topic in today’s world).

I am majoring in psychology with a minor in child advocacy studies and plan to work with minority adolescents and children. Topics of importance to me range from inner city violence (present in Chicago), the importance of funding education (or lack of in my institution’s case), to issues of identity, what it means to be a first generation college student, religion and culture, along with the utter most important topic of mental health. I challenge myself in my learning, in my views, and hope I may do the same in a positive manner for those I reach. I plan to help change the world one day, even if it takes a lifetime.


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