By Florian Direny || Contributing Writer
In an increasingly stressful and anxious world, knowing how to relax and enjoy the present can be a life-saving skill. College students are particularly susceptible to anxiety and stress. Academic expectations, rigorous workloads, and isolation from family and friends are but a few causes behind college students’ high levels of stress. When burdened by social and academic expectations, students need an escape to maintain their sanity and preserve their mental health. It is my contention that mindfulness can be that escape.
According to mindful.org, mindfulness is defined as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” In a society that emphasizes the future and promotes sacrificing the present, mindfulness can seem quite odd and controversial. What benefits can someone possibly gain from sitting around for hours meditating when they could be playing with their friends or reading a book? Isn’t this behavior promoting passivity and laziness? Why should anyone engage in mindfulness? These are all valid questions that anyone contemplating mindfulness might be asking.
Mindfulness has been demonstrated to offer a variety of benefits. Meditating not only allows us to be more aware of our inner thoughts and feelings, but also to regulate them. If you are feeling a bit angry at your dog for eating your burger, meditating might help you control your emotions. Mindfulness also allows us to know ourselves better. Spending time with yourself, and watching your thoughts and emotions can allow you to better understand your true motivations, goals, and wants. This can be particularly helpful in an academic context like college, where setting and following goals is crucial. Also, contrary to popular belief, meditation does not promote passivity nor laziness. The opposite is true: people who practice mindfulness tend to be more productive and report having a more positive outlook on life and work.
If this article has gotten you interested in mindfulness, you might want to check out F&M’s very own student-led Mindfulness Club. We meet bi-weekly on Saturday at 4:00 PM in the multi-faith room in the basement of the College Center. Our Instagram account is @fandm_mindfulnessclub. There are also many more mindfulness opportunities available on campus, most of which are offered through F&M’s Mindfulness Committee. One example is the upcoming mindfulness retreat on the 13th of November. This retreat is a great opportunity to learn about mindfulness while immersed in the fresh and natural atmosphere of Mount Gretna. There are also weekly mindfulness events, including yoga and mindful reading, offered by many people and on-campus organizations.
Florian Direny is a junior and contributing writer for The College Reporter. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org