Mindfulness is becoming more popular in American culture. As the large body of research about its benefits continues to grow, increased attention has been paid to integrate mindfulness into educational institutions, from K-12 schools to colleges and universities.
Mindfulness is the capacity to be aware of the present moment (rather than getting caught up in the past or future); it is both innate and a skill that can be honed through regular practice. Mindfulness can be practiced by bringing focused attention to the present-moment experience with kindness and free of judgment. The more we practice this skill, the better we can become at recognizing our thoughts, emotions, and bodies and better manage stress. Even a couple of minutes per day can help someone (especially students with busy schedules) prioritize their well-being. Mindfulness can be practiced formally through meditation exercises, and also informally during regular daily activities by bringing attention to the present moment experience. Anything can be done mindfully, from eating to moving and even washing the dishes!
Organizations and researchers have found many benefits:
The American College Health Association found student well-being impacts how they are showing up in the classroom. By acknowledging their lives outside of academics and taking a “whole person” approach, we can cultivate a community where students feel more open to take care of themselves as a way of supporting their goals and well-being.
It is important to consider how mindfulness shows up in your own life. Having your own mindfulness practice can benefit your well-being and performance as an instructor. It can also help you integrate some of these approaches and strategies into your classroom. Mindfulness can be quite personal; how much you share about your own experience is always at your discretion.
There are a few things to note about your approach to bringing mindfulness to your classroom:
The Wellness Resource Center (WRC) is Temple University’s health promotion office. The WRC offers a variety of intentional learning opportunities to promote well-being and cultivate community. Services include peer-led workshops, campus-wide events, staff and faculty training, wellness consultations, and safer sex supply sales. Learn more about these services and how to request programming at wellness.temple.edu or connect with the WRC on social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) @BeWellTU.Image credit: "Body of Water and Sunlight" released under Creative Commons CC0 (public domain) by PeakPx.com.