As a student, life might get a little overwhelming. From piling workload, to upcoming deadlines and let’s not forget a pandemic that doesn’t make life much easier. All these factors and more can be harmful to our mental health. Therefore, I believe it is very important to look after yourself mentally. The practice of ‘Mindfulness’ allows people to do so. Mindfulness is the ability to be completely present, and to be aware of who we are and what we are doing, which allows us not to be overwhelmed or extremely reactive by what is happening around us.
Being mindful means that you are bringing awareness to what you’re experiencing through your senses, or your state of mind through your thoughts and emotions. It helps us realize that we are not only our overwhelming thoughts. It helps us settle the anxious thoughts and emotions which essentially brings us to a better state of mind. Instead of worrying about a certain instance, mindfulness makes us realize that it is completely fine that a negative thought has shown up in our brain, and it simply acknowledges it.
Research has shown that your brain can be trained to be mindful, so below are some tips which might help you to be more mindful and find a way to deal with your mental health during these times.
- Journaling is a great way to practice mindfulness. It allows us to really ask ourselves what we are dealing with. Writing this out, not only helps us with acknowledging our thoughts, but lets us put our thoughts on paper, instead of leaving them to drown in our head. Journaling also makes us reflective and helps us understand ourselves a little bit better. We learn what our motives, goals, and struggles are. This might set a confrontation with ourselves that we would prefer to ignore at times, but is still essential.
- Going on a walk is a great way to not only keep ourselves busy physically, but mentally as well. When going on a walk, we are alone in our own mind. This allows us to confront our mind and be aware of our presence as we go with each step.
- Lastly, meditation is the ultimate way to become mindful. It might be difficult at first, because how exactly do we meditate? It is simply about sitting in a comfortable position, being in control of our own breath and being completely present, letting no external influences bother us. If there is a random thought that pops up in your brain, you simply acknowledge it, and try to let it go by focusing on your breathing. Meditation is a great practice for mindfulness and is very easy to do. I would recommend taking 10 minutes of your time every single day to meditate. There are many resources out there that can help you get started, such as various Podcasts and YouTube videos. The app ‘Headspace’ can also be a great resource for meditation!
Author: Danisha Carron
Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung
Illustrator: Chelsea Blijlevens