Mindfulness and our health

“Mindfulness isn’t about trying to change anything or solve any problem. It’s about paying attention and being aware and present without judgment or criticism. It’s really about acceptance.”

Mindfulness involves slowing down and noticing the world around us. Photo by Joshua Sperry.

Life is full of deadlines and responsibilities for students that often lead to busy schedules and thoughtless days that overshadow the joys of everyday life.

Mindfulness, or the ability to slow down and appreciate our lives, is a great way to prevent this. Researchers from the Boston Charter Research Collaborative at Harvard University explain that creating mindful habits will not only help in allowing us to be aware of our emotions and habits but will also help in times of stress, improving our overall health. 

Kerri Scott, organizer of UVU’s Mindfulness Workshop, explained the possible benefits of mindfulness. She stated, “As we become more aware of the present moment, we may find lower stress levels, more joy and peace in life, an increase in our ability to focus, and so many health benefits like decreased blood pressure and pain relief .” Scott also reminded students of the true purpose of mindfulness when she said that, “participants [should] drop any expectation of what they want to happen, and just become more aware and pay attention to what they are experiencing without judgment or expectations.”

“One of my favorite phrases that applies to mindfulness is ‘Let yourself be yourself, exactly as you find yourself,” Scott continued. “Mindfulness isn’t about trying to change anything or solve any problem. It’s about paying attention and being aware and present without judgment or criticism. It’s really about acceptance.”

How do students learn mindfulness? Scott explained,“When I lead our mindfulness sessions I like to create interactive experiences. Some participants have a hard time sitting through a guided meditation, and we want students to know that mindfulness is something that we can practice in any situation. It doesn’t have to be sitting still. So, I try to bring a variety of experiences, for example, mindful eating, mindful art, movement, and other interactive experiences.”

When it comes to knowing what you can expect from the workshop, Scott stated, “Our mindfulness activities are designed to meet the varying experience levels of each participant. We have two mindfulness instructors with different teaching styles. One instructor, Dallin Bruun, is certified in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and his style is really thought-provoking and encourages participants to experience and notice their own awareness. His sessions are great for those who have more experience with mindfulness, and they are also great for those who may just be beginning to practice or experience mindfulness.”

The Mindfulness Workshop is held on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. in the SL Reflection Center.  You can also join in virtually. To do so, email [email protected] for the link.  

While it’s important to remember the “bigger picture” when it comes to motivating ourselves, it can also be the reason we are missing out on the present. Practicing mindfulness will leave you feeling more present, healthier, and happier every day.

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