Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is actively placing your attention on one thing at a time, in the present moment, and without judgment. You can be mindful of anything, including thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.

Why is mindfulness helpful?

Mindfulness is one way to start to develop and then maintain your overall sense of well-being. It can allow you to be fully awake to your life by helping you to bring a non-judgmental attitude to your present moment experiences. Lack of mindfulness (mindlessness) oftentimes leads to anxiety and worry because it can propel you to focus on the past or future in a judgmental way. This could lead to decreased well-being. Increased mindfulness has been linked to some positive outcomes that can support the overall well-being and success of college students.

To learn more, check out these articles and videos.  Also, you can read more here.
Creswell, J.D. (2017). Mindfulness Interventions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68, (pp.491-516). First published online as a Review in Advance on September 28, 2016

Greeson, J., Juberg, M., Maytan, M., James, K., & Rogers, H. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of Koru: a mindfulness program for college students and other emerging adults. Journal of American College Health, 62(4).

Shearer, A., Hunt, M., Chowdhury, M., & Nicol, L. (2016). Effects of a brief mindfulness meditation intervention on student stress and heart rate variability. International Journal of Stress Management, 23(2), 232-254.

What is Mindfulness?
How mindfulness meditation redefines pain, happiness & satisfaction
You Are Not Your Thoughts

How can mindfulness help me?

College student life can be exciting and challenging. Developing mindfulness could help you better cope with the stress that comes from the life of a college student.

In addition to adjusting to Penn culture and academics, you are continuing the journey of your life which includes such things as identity exploration, making new friends, and exploring your career interests. In the midst of this busy life, it is often easy to over-focus on the past and worry about the future, which can create distress. STILL need to talk more about how it can help.

If you are wondering about whether mindfulness-based interventions work, here are some examples of mental health treatment approaches that feature mindfulness as a core skill, have relevance for college students, and have demonstrated effectiveness:  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction [MBSR], Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy [MBCT], Dialectical Behavior Therapy [DBT].

How do I practice mindfulness?

If you continuously practice mindfulness, it could possibly help you feel better both physically and psychologically. The benefits of mindfulness practice have been widely documented, especially related to decreasing psychological distress such as depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness is a life skill and just like any other skill, developing a mindful way of being will take some practice. In order for you to fully experience the benefits of mindfulness, we try to develop our skill by practicing both formal and informal mindfulness.

Formal practices: Setting aside a specific amount of time and finding a place to practice sitting meditation, a body scan, mindful movement, or mindful walking.

Informal practices: Doing an activity that you usually do with mindfulness. For example, mindfully brushing your teeth, eating a snack, or drinking a glass of water.

Mindfulness-based interventions are a combination of psychoeducation and experiential learning through guided mindfulness practices. If you are new to practicing mindfulness, it will be especially helpful to work with the guidance of an experienced facilitator who could provide background information on what mindfulness is, and walk you through what a mindful way of being looks like.

What mindfulness-based resources does CAPS offer?

We have woven in ways to promote development of mindfulness through the groups and workshops we offer at CAPS. These workshops and groups that are tailored to meet the specific needs of your journey. Our vision is to offer various modalities of mind-body well-being interventions, so that you can choose what feels appropriate and relevant to you. 

Mindfulness-based interventions are a combination of psychoeducation and experiential learning through guided mindfulness practices. If you are new to practicing mindfulness, it will be especially helpful to work with the guidance of an experienced facilitator who could provide background information on what mindfulness is, and walk you through what a mindful way of being looks like.

Workshops and Group:
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
Mindfulness-Based StressReduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness Skills Group
Drop In Meditation Group
Mindful Eating/Tea

Here is what some of the Penn undergraduate and graduate students who participated in mindfulness-based groups at CAPS had to say about their experience
"Excellent group that provided me with a lot of useful skills."
"(I learned to ) Accept that it's okay to be anxious"

Resources and Tools for a Mindful Journey

Here are some resources that may be helpful in your mindful journey.  We encourage you to thoughtfully choose one or two resources that you think will be relevant and helpful to you:

Websites:

Mindful.org

Apps:
The Mindfulness App
Breathe
Simply Break
Take a Break!
Stop, Breathe, and Think
Breath2Relax
Calm
Breathe and Relax
Headspace

Audios:
UC San Diego Health, Center for Mindfulness
UCLA Health Free Guided Meditations

Articles:
Psychology Today, What is Mindfulness?

Books:
-Radical Acceptance byTara Brach
-Mindfulness in Plain English: Revised and Expanded Edition by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
-Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
-The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
-10% Happier by Dan Harris
-Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn
-Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn
-Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn
-The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems by Ronald D. Siegel
-A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl