Mindfulness, Meditation, and Self-Compassion
College can be an exciting and rewarding time, full of many new opportunities and avenues for overall growth and development. Of course, it is also commonly a challenging time full of multiple demands as students often seek to balance school and their other important roles regarding work, establishing/maintaining social connections, spending quality time with a partner and/or family members, engaging in solitary activities for enjoyment or perhaps restoration, and downtime.
Finding space for downtime may be difficult in that it’s not easy to be present with some emotions, such as loneliness or anxiety, which can be temporary or longer-lasting.
Mindfulness may be just the practice for helping things come together in a way that makes life come in more of a way that you’d like to experience and to focus on things of greatest importance. Mindfulness can help you develop a greater sense of self-awareness, as well as help you learn to self-soothe and take care of yourself in difficult times. Mindfulness can also be easily incorporated into our daily lives, along with our religious, spiritual, or secular practices.
Involves focusing attention on what is happening in the present moment and cultivating a sense of acceptance of one’s experiences. It typically means moving away from making judgments about one’s experiences or trying to control them. It might even be considered a superpower!
While mindfulness is now common practice across the globe, it is important to contextualize the mindfulness movement by acknowledging that it emerged from and is largely based on spiritual Eastern practices, particularly Buddhist traditions.
...in deeply to bring your mind home to your body.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness meditation typically involves focusing attention on the present moment and on using one’s breath as the object of meditation. This may include moment-to-moment noticing of thoughts/feelings/bodily sensations as they come and go, and subsequently bringing awareness back to the breath. With practice, one can stay focused in the present (rather than drifting into the past or future) and allow one’s breathing to become relaxed, which promotes a relaxation response and accompanying sense of calmness.
Benefits Of Mindfulness / Mindful Meditation
Scientific studies demonstrate an array of potential body and mind benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation including the following:
- Reduced stress and lower anxiety levels
- Enhanced immune system functioning
- Improved physical/mental health
- Better concentration
- Greater self-awareness
- Cultivates positive emotions
- Improved ability to deal with illness
- Lowered emotional reactivity: increased curiosity and affect tolerance, improved patience, and greater self-acceptance
- Fosters personal well-being
- Promotes feeling connected
- Improved academic performance
A study on mindfulness in college students found that medical and psychology students who practiced mindfulness reported improvements in a wide range of areas, including: decreased reactivity; increased curiosity, affect tolerance, and patience; and, finally enhanced self-acceptance and relational qualities (Solhaug et al., 2016).
More Benefits of Mindful Meditation
Struggling with perfectionism, self-criticism, or low self-worth? These difficulties may be a sign of a lowered sense of self-compassion. If you’re interested in working on loving and caring for yourself, know that mindfulness is an important component of self-compassion.
According to Kristen Neff, self-compassion includes three parts:
Self-kindness: Expressing empathy and understanding to the self.
Common Humanity: Knowing that we are not alone in our suffering.
Mindfulness: Bringing awareness and non-judgment to our experiences of emotional pain or suffering.
Therefore, by allowing yourself to be present with your inner experience, taking time to breathe, and soothe yourself, and offering yourself kindness through meditation, you are engaging in the important practice of self-compassion.
The Power of Self-Compassion,
what if you started to treat yourself like you treated a good friend?
- Getting Started
- Short Meditations (English, Español)
- Body Scan, Sitting Meditations (English, Español)
- How to Meditate With Chocolate
- How to Become More Mindful in Your Everyday Life
- Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) Benefits and Videos
- Self-compassion Guided Meditations by Kristen Neff
- Bilingual Center for Mindfulness (En Español )
- Mindful: Healthy Mind, Healthy Life
- UCSD Center for Mindfulness
- UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
- Verywell Mind: Meditation
- How to Practice Mindfulness Meditation
- Quiet Places on Campus (PDF)
- Campus Recreation Schedule (Virtual Mindful Mediation, Mind Self-Compassion groups)
- WSU Stress Relief Center
- WSU Student Wellness
- WSU Fitness Schedule
- Positive Psychology Listing
- Book Riot Listing
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Positive Psychology Top 50 Mindfulness Books
isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.
– Sharon Saltzberg
Although many people find mindfulness apps helpful, here is something to keep in mind:
Counseling Center Resources
Self-help with TAO
Therapy Assistance Online (TAO) is a platform of free self-help educational modules to help you learn about and change how you think and feel.
- Complimentary Registration for TAO provided by the Counseling & Psychological Services Center.
- Once registered, log in.
- Next, go to Browse All Sessions and type “Mindfulness and Meditation” in the Search for Courses box: Tao Session Library
CPSC Groups for Practicing Mindfulness & Meditation
The Counseling and Psychological Services Center can provide information and help for individuals who want to use mindfulness practices to enhance well-being and improve mood. Call us at 801-626-6406.
CPSC Frequently Asked Questions
Meditation 101: A Beginner's Guide - Narrated by Dan Harris
Meditation - Then and Now!
Mindfulness with Steve Hickman