John Kabat-Zinn, University of Massachusetts Professor and creator of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program at, said that “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.”
Ever since a friend introduced me to the practice of mindfulness last year, I’ve become obsessed. I want always to be present, to be here in this moment. I’m no master, but I’m trying everyday to be more in touch with myself, my thoughts and the world around me.
Here are some tips I’ve found throughout my practice to be helpful in developing a more mindful lifestyle in the midst of a crazy, daily college life:
1. Phone time should only be for alone time
I know that texting is great and that Instagram is really cool and all, but being so caught up in the virtual world takes away from your presence in the present world. Whether you’re walking to class by yourself or eating lunch with friends, you can never be fully present if you’re allowing your phone to be a distraction from what is going on around you. Wait to answer your texts and check your social media feeds until you have a second to be alone.
2. Take time to reflect on your day
Yes, we’re college students and inherently, we’re busy — like, all the time. Sometimes we feel like we don’t even have time to eat meals. But if you decide that reflecting on your day — through meditation, writing or simply thinking — is something that you want to do, find a way to make time for it in your schedule, as you do with homework and studying. Sit down right before you go to sleep and allow your thoughts to flow. Consider what you liked about your day and what you didn’t.
3. Accept your feelings
Before reacting badly to negative feelings, first accept them. Understand that feelings may arise but also that these feelings will fade in time. Nothing is permanent. The world is constantly changing and so are you. Breathe and think before you execute your reaction to anything.
4. Focus on your breathing
Take time each day to notice and focus on your breathing. Sit down (I like to sit on the edge of the fountain outside of Doheny Memorial Library). Listen to the sounds around you, feel that your feet are on the ground, notice things you may not have noticed before and realize that you are alive and here right now.
5. Be conscious of what goes into your body and your mind
Remember that you only have one body and one mind, and that you have to take care of both. Try your best to think about people, things and situations without judgment. Rather than looking at a passing person and making assumptions, just recognize that he or she is here in the moment just as you are.
6. Focus on the present moment
Focus on one thing at a time so that you can be aware of what is going on around you. Instead of just seeing things as you go about your daily routine, actually look at the things you see. Don’t get stuck in your head thinking about what you need to do later or what you did in the past because now — right now, this moment, this second — is all that you have. So be there, be engaged and realize how lucky you are to be here in this moment. Don’t spend all your time working toward something that eventually will make you happy or make you feel good – there is no one big moment that you’re working toward in your life. The moment is every moment.
7. Be curious
Ask questions. Read books. Listen to stories. Learn something just because you want to, not because you need to. Take in new scenery, new language, new smells, tastes and sounds. Most importantly, get to know yourself. Realize what you like, what you don’t like, what you wish you could do and what you wish you could change. Learn about yourself just like you would learn about any of your friends.