How and Why You Should Practice Mindfulness
First, let’s talk about the different benefits of practicing mindfulness. If you’re in high school or even college, sometimes your emotions can be all over the place due to so many different factors, and practicing mindfulness can help you think through your emotions before you act on them. Taking a second to collect your thoughts can be very beneficial because you might stop yourself from saying something you didn’t mean that could possible hurt your friend’s feelings or something that could get you in trouble with your parents or teachers. Focusing on one thing allows you to make a thought-out decision with a calm and clearer mind. Here are a few of the other benefits of mindfulness:
Focus- when practicing mindfulness, it has been proven that your focus in general improves. This means your attention to detail, organization skills, time management skills, and overall executive functions will improve.
Stress reduction- Allowing yourself some time to collect your thoughts and look at the big picture of things can help lower your stress levels because you are focusing more on what’s important, and not scrambling to get things done
Increased positivity can lead to healthier relationships and better communication/respect in the classrooms
How to practice mindfulness
Start off by trying to commit to at least 10 minutes a day, or even every other day, to mindfulness until you get more comfortable with it. When practicing mindfulness, it isn’t always just meditation, it can simply be focusing on your breathing or the environment around you.
Try one of these techniques as a simple way to get started:
- Going for a walk, and while you are on this walk, pay attention to everything around you.
Try putting your phone on silent and in your pocket so you won’t be distracted by the device. Use this walk as a time to take a break from your phone and a chance to enjoy your surroundings, and you might notice some new flowers growing or the leaves on a tree transitioning colors. Just being more mindful of your surroundings can bring so much peace and calmness over you that you might just start doing this every time you go for a walk, and one day you might not be able to imagine just walking and not noticing what’s really around you. A simple thing like going for walk can be such a mindless task that we lose touch with nature by not truly paying attention to it.
- Focusing on your breathing is a really good and simple way to be mindful of how you are feeling as well. Try practicing a slow, deep inhale for 4 seconds, and then exhale slowly for 4 seconds for about a minute. Follow along with this video and you can instantly feel calmer and focused:
Afterward, you can easily continue on your day with a clearer mind, and you do this again anytime you feel you need it.
Or you can also download different mindfulness apps and see which one is right for you and your goals. Using an app can be a great way to start practicing mindfulness by following along with something and then learning what benefits you.
Here are some available to you!
Just click on each one and it will take you straight to their website if you want to learn more about them!
There are so many more out there, you just have to find one that works best for you!
TIP: Keep a journal of notes of how you feel before and after each session, what you did or did not like about it, what you might change, etc.
This is a good way to look back and see how you’ve changed along the journey of practicing mindfulness and compare the differences between how you felt before you started practicing and how you currently feel after practicing it for a while. This is also a good way to learn what types of practices you prefer/benefit the most from and you can make notes on things you might not like to do.
Here are some good sources with more details on the benefits of mindfulness and ways to practice it!
This article was developed by Sarah Dietrich, an Illinois State University student working as an Intern for the Always Unstoppable Campaign.
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