Rest periods are proven to improve your study and wellbeing. Here’s a tempting activity for today’s #studyhappy Library break…
Sometimes student life can be so overwhelming that it feels like there’s hardly time to breathe, let alone pay attention to our breath. Take a break and try out mindfulness to ease any anxiety…By Eric Baron.
First, take a deep breath.
No, really. Take a nice, long inhale.
And if you’re feeling really adventurous, or just a bit stressed out, try it again. Except this time, first close your eyes and for a moment just sit.
Now how do you feel?
Why is mindfulness a good stress-buster?
- Visualisation exercises, mindfulness, meditation and breathing techniques are easy ways to rid your body and mind of distracting inside chatter, as well as day-to-day stress and tension that arise from studying, exam prep and performance pressures.
- Practicing regularly can boost levels of creativity and self-awareness, improve your ability to focus and sustain attention over time and even boost your immune system. Doubtful? Check out some of these links to empirical studies that have demonstrated the positive benefits of mindfulness practice.
How do I do it?
Finding a quiet space to shut your eyes, or simply closing your book, sitting back and resting your hands in your lap or on your desk are all you need to do to prepare.
It’s important to remember that there is really no wrong way to practice mindfulness. The important thing is to take the time to slow down, become aware, and focus on you—your body, your breath, any sound or image that pops into your head.
Try it out…
- Sit comfortably in your chair. If you happen to be at home, or you hear a nice grassy knoll calmly calling you by name, try lying down on your back. Then shut your eyes and just breathe. That’s all.
- Notice your breath. There is no right or wrong way to breath. Notice the sound and the feeling as you inhale and exhale. You might experience different sensations while your body gets comfortable. That’s okay.
- As you listen to yourself you might notice other sounds around you. Cars, pets, other people, library stewards. Don’t try to block them out, and if you can, don’t focus on any particular sound, but let your mind wander in and out, off and on each sound like sailboats passing on the horizon; don’t cling to what you hear, but hear it, and then let it go.
- Open your eyes and relax. Don’t get up too quickly. Move slowly at first, stretch or flex your fingers and toes. You should feel refreshed.
An example of a relaxation script, which takes you on a virtual walk through a rainforest, can be found here.
Mindfulness for Students is a website specifically dedicated to helping students stay calm and manage the pressures of student life. Some of their mindfulness techniques, such as “The body scan”, “Puppy mind” and the “Exam Stress buster”, as well as videos on mindfulness can be found here.
So be mindful and study happy!
Image: The forest of healing/Brandon Oh/CC-BY-NC-ND Licence
Not sufficiently relaxed yet? Try some yoga in the library!