It can be so challenging to make mindfulness a priority in college.
I wish I could tell you that it gets easier during post-grad life. Maybe it does for a lucky few, but for the majority of us — it’s still something that you have to remind yourself of each week consciously.
Your days that once consisted of classes, student organization commitments, a part-time job, AND a social life now involve a job where you now truly understand the meaning of "full-time", a social life, bills, appointments, and meetings. And with all of these little things running through our minds, it can be challenging to feel "present" during our day-to-day.
On top of it all, if you’re anything like me, you’ll then overthink the times when you weren’t feeling as present as you could have been and then beat yourself up for not being more in the moment. But instead of doing that, there's a better way of taking action, ways that provide a more powerful outcome.
Below are a few tips that anyone (recent grad or not) can incorporate at any time to make mindfulness a priority.
In order to feel fully present in a situation, whether that is getting dinner with friends, reading a book, or even just walking/driving to the grocery store, you first have to recognize when you’re not being mindful of your surroundings. Are you thinking about your meeting at work tomorrow? Or your to-do list waiting for you at home?
Notice that and be aware of it.
Then, LET IT GO.
There is a place and time for everything, including your thoughts! Ask yourself:
"What can I do in this exact moment to prepare for that meeting? Or help me cross off that item on my to-do list?"
Hint: the answer is typically nothing.
Why waste energy with thoughts that have their own place and time, aka at work, school, home, etc.?
2. APPRECIATE THE LITTLE THINGS
The saying “life is all about the little things” can be a little cliche, but it applies to mindfulness so much!
To snap yourself back to a state of mindfulness when you notice your thoughts getting the best of you or when you feel like you’re not fully present in your situation, you can:
a. call out your thoughts and recognize that your thoughts exist or,
b. observe a sensory detail and focus on that for a moment.
Here are some examples of observing a sensory detail:
Example 1: Are you sitting outside? Take a moment to notice the breeze on your face and think of only that for 30 seconds.
Example 2: Do you smell amazing flowers during a run? Think about that to break up your thought pattern and appreciate the moment you’re in.
3. SCHEDULE MINDFUL MOMENTS THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY
I’ve found it extremely helpful to schedule mindful moments throughout my day. By setting aside just a few minutes to breathe, meditate, or even go for a walk, I feel more connected with my work and so much more focused/productive throughout the day. Also, when you make it a habit, it will eventually start coming naturally!
My favorite ways to incorporate mindfulness are going on walks or using the Calm app! A few members on my team also use Headspace as well as Insight Timer.
At CHAARG, we all try to incorporate mindfulness into our days. We have even gotten into the habit of holding at 2 PM meeting every day for a three minute, silent meditation. Three minutes is all it takes to #reCHAARG your mind, feel grounded, + take on the rest of your day!
How do you incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily life? To learn more about CHAARG, visit: www.chaarg.com
Sarah Jankowski, Digital Lead at CHAARG
Originally from a small town in Ohio, SJ attended the University of Cincinnati and became involved as a student leader for CHAARG. After college, she moved to Chicago where she now works as the Digital Lead for CHAARG. She manages all things digital including social media, web design, events, and brand partnerships. When she’s not working [or working out!] with her team, you can find her exploring new restaurants, hunting down live music, or relaxing by the lake.