What is mindfulness?

Frequently asked questions

What is mindfulness?

At its heart mindfulness training teaches students to pay attention to the present moment through simple breathing and meditation practices which increase awareness of thoughts and feelings so as to reduce stress and anxiety and boost levels of attention and concentration. Mindfulness practice cultivates the ability to disengage from incapacitating worry and detrimental or self-defeating negative thinking. This increased capacity for non judgmental, present moment awareness has the effect of giving the student choice to respond skilfully rather than to react in a knee jerk or automatic fashion to external or internal pressures.

Why is mindfulness particularly appropriate for students?

Successful completion of a degree programme inevitably involves periods of stress, such as in the run up to examinations, that demand particularly high levels of cognitive control, emotional regulation and self-awareness. The aim of mindfulness training for students is to give students tools to help them remain calm, sustain their attention and to focus more consistently and appropriately in the face of these demands.

There is a growing focus and interest in universities and Higher Education to attend to student well being and flourishing, with initiatives such as ‘Healthy Universities’ recommending that HE institutions ‘embed health and well being into the core of their business and culture’.
Furthermore a number of universities both in the UK and elsewhere have begun to recognise the need to address the impact of student stress on learning.

Mindfulness training can offer all students tools that help:

a) Those students who are performing well to perform even better as well as assisting those who are struggling.
b) Minimise the negative effects of stress as and when they occur placing the goal of stress reduction within the normal teaching and learning curriculum as a resource available to all students not just to students in distress.
c) To manage low mood/depression and reduce anxiety
d) Maximise general well being and flourishing, building tools for life such as empathy, self-compassion, emotional resilience and tolerance.

Is there any science behind mindfulness?

There is a large and growing body of research showing the evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques. Research on the benefits of mindfulness has been gathered from a wide range of different settings. Evidence in its effectiveness has been shown in the health and mental health sector, and includes neuroscientific evidence. Read more about the science of mindfulness…

Mark Williams talking about Mindfulness Based Cognitive therapy http:/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrMV7ra0w9Q

Can you show me some sample exercises?

Have a look at two sample mindfulness exercises; try them yourself and see how effective you find them.

How can I find out more?

Please join our mailing list, or contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

If there are no courses at your university or college…

If you do not have a mindfulness course available at your university or college you might want to get started with the help of the guided meditations and resources available on this site (see the links above)and check out some of the sample practices for yourself.

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