‘Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally, to the unfolding of experience, moment by moment.’
Jon Kabat Zinn, ‘Full Catastrophe Living’
Professor of Medicine emeritus and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School
Mindfulness is an easy-to-use practice of meditation and living in the present moment. It gives you tools to stay calm, focused and better manage the pressures of student life.
Everyone can benefit from and enjoy Mindfulness, but you might like to try it especially if you are:
- feeling stressed or overwhelmed
- struggling to concentrate
- feeling like a failure – see also Perfectionism
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness teaches you to pay attention to the present moment through simple breathing and meditation practices.
It can help you manage your thoughts, feelings and actions: through Mindfulness, you practise the ability to accept thoughts and feelings, and to build resilience to worry and unhelpful negative thinking. Mindfulness can help with procrastination, reduce your baseline anxiety, help you cope with difficult situations, and also tame your inner critic.
You can practise Mindfulness anywhere – on your own, through group sessions or one-to-one.
give it try and science
Give it a try
Three-Minute Breathing Space
- What am I thinking right now?
- What emotions am I feeling?
- What physical sensations do I have?
Focus on a few breaths – in and out.
Focus on the physical sensations of breathing as you feel it in your abdomen – keep awareness here a little while.
Naturally your mind will wander, but simply notice your thoughts, let them be, and gently return your attention to watching your breath.
Expand awareness out from the abdomen to hold and observe your whole body centre stage.
Explore the science behind Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you cultivate compassion and self-compassion, and research has shown this to improve mental wellbeing:
- Compassion in the Brain – a video in which Dr Emiliana Simon-Thomas explains the neurological mechanisms that support compassion, and why mindfulness meditation can help support the growth of compassion;
- Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self-Esteem – a research study examining the effect of practicing compassion;
- The Three Components of Self-Compassion – a short video in which the world’s leading researcher of self-compassion explains its core features;
- The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self-Compassion – a TEDx talk on the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, and how self-compassion is strongly related to mental wellbeing, happiness and better interpersonal relationships.
groups and further info
Join a session
The Chaplaincy provides regular sessions on meditation and Mindfulness, which many students find useful in dealing with stress. You can also contact the Chaplains if you would like a one-to-one conversation about your experiences of meditation or Mindfulness, or to ask questions. Find out more at the chaplaincy pages.
Mindfulness – Tuesdays 13:05-13:50, Chaplaincy
Buddhist Meditation – Fridays 13:05-13:50, Chaplaincy
Student Counselling Service
The Counselling Service offers workshops on Mindfulness each term, involving theory, research and practice. Please check their website for more information and to sign up for the next session.
The College Occupational Health Service runs a 30-minute lunchtime meditation class, which provides guided relaxation & visualisation to refresh your energy levels and create space for creativity, clear thinking and innovative solutions. Find out more here.
Creative Meditation – Thursdays 13:15-13:45, Seminar and Learning Centre, Sherfield level 5
Further information and advice
You can find out more about Mindfulness by following the links below:
- Mindfulness for Students
- Be Mindful is a campaign by the Mental Health Foundation, raising awareness about the benefits of mindfulness
- Mindfulnet – everything you need to know about Mindfulness on one website
- Headspace offers easy 10-minute meditations and some great meditation advice
- Stop, Breathe and Think and Calm are simple and accessible apps to get started with meditation
- Overcome Obstacles to your Mindfulness Practice – an article on making Mindfulness work in everyday life