Practicing mindfulness can help improve your quality of life

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The University of Connecticut Student Health and Wellness (SHaW) center is prioritizing the mental and physical health of students by offering additional events that can help to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic. One of these events is an Introduction to Mindfulness Workshop that supports stress reduction and overall well-being.  

This 60-minute workshop is held every weekday and introduces students to the basic skills of mindfulness practice. Deep breathing, present moment awareness and self-acceptance are just a few of the many mindfulness practices that you can add to your daily routine to help deal with everyday struggles.  

College students nationwide are in the midst of dealing with the transition to either a fully or partially remote learning environment and it is common to feel anxious and stressed about the implications that this new normal will have on your education. Being able to properly handle this added stress and prioritize your mental and physical health is very important, and practicing mindfulness is a great way to do this. 

“Mindfulness is simply paying attention to now,” Tracy Gruber, a clinical case manager at SHaW, said. “Too often, we are thinking, worrying, etc. and we are not actually attending to what is actually happening.”  

Mindfulness has both physical and mental benefits that contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. Simple practices like mindful breathing and paying attention can have many benefits. Some of these practices include boosting energy levels, improving sleep, relieving stress, reducing anxiety and improving self-esteem.  

Many of these benefits translate to the classroom and can help students achieve academic success. People are constantly connected to their phones and other devices which can be a big source of distraction when trying to complete schoolwork or study for an exam. Mindfulness can help boost your concentration levels and allow you to focus all of your attention on the task at hand instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media or watching Netflix for hours.  

Gruber recommends that students consider both formal and informal mindful practices.  

“We also encourage students to be intentionally mindful intermittently when the thought occurs to them. Every moment there is a mindful opportunity,” Gruber said.  

There are plenty of apps and YouTube videos available, for beginners and pros alike, that can act as a guide for your mindfulness practice. Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer and Aura are a few examples of mindfulness apps and they offer many services to their users like breathing exercises and guided meditations.  

Practicing mindfulness in your daily routine can help you feel more grounded and connected to the world around you. Oftentimes, people can become caught up in the stress of everyday life and begin to feel overwhelmed. This is a normal feeling to have, and mindfulness provides you with the opportunity to be present and pay attention to the moment you are currently in.  

“Mindfulness is a great skill that can enhance quality of life,” Gruber said. “By learning to breathe properly for stress reduction, to notice and accept more of what is and learning to tune into the present moment can have lasting effects on overall wellbeing.” 

If you are interested in learning more about mindfulness or taking part in a workshop, visit the UConn Student Health website for more information.  

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