written by Liv Taylor
This semester’s “Lunch Here” series kicked off with an introductory seminar addressing the importance of mindfulness. If you are anything like me, when the role of ‘college student’ begins to become too stressful and overwhelming, you end up having what I call a ‘mental meltdown’. When the long nights of group projects and last-minute readings begin to kick in mid-semester, sometimes it seems like the best option is to simply do nothing…or at least that’s what I thought.
Our lovely staff here at SU London have come up with the perfect solution to that mid-semester funk we’ve all come to know and hate through the power of mindfulness. By gaining a clearer perspective on how to simplify your mindset and wellbeing, you will find that living a heathier and happier lifestyle is more attainable than you’ve ever imagined. For those of you who missed that first lunch talk, have no fear my fellow worriers: Here are some key steps you can take to ensure you stay on track this semester while maintaining the lowest stress level possible!
What Is Mindfulness?
Dr. Melanie Tokley, the leader of the seminar and a coach from the Mindfulness Project (https://www.londonmindful.com/), explained to us that mindfulness is the process of inclusivity shared between the mind, the body, and the spirit in the hopes of establishing both natural joy and happiness. When we become stressed and overwhelmed with tasking responsibilities, we inherently become less present and begin to miss out on the simplest of joys in our lives. Consequently, our minds begin to slip into an unconsciousness that results in forgetfulness and the inability to perform at our highest capacity. This lack of happiness and being caught up in our worries and fears results in a separation of the mind, spirit, and body. The practice of mindfulness helps us to not only combat everyday mental strife, but also to find effortless enjoyment and happiness in our lives.
The practice of peaceful meditation will allow you to become more in tune with your body while also allowing the mind to be eased into a more relaxed state. Dr. Tokley explained to us that when we practice mindful breathing, we begin to focus our attention on breathing in and breathing out. All of your focus should go into this task, clearing your head of all outside thoughts and resulting in the projection of peaceful thoughts. Meditation allows us to enter a space of non-reactive behavior and keeps us presently grounded within our own minds.
When we become aware of the daily factors that affect our bodies, we are better able to combat the problematic flukes that arise during day to day life. When we become more conscious of the effect that our thoughts have on our behaviors, our ability to react to external forces significantly decreases. By becoming a reactive individual, you increase your chances of becoming isolated, stressed, overwhelmed, etc. Only by becoming actively focused and present while completing tasks at hand will your mind become clear of stressful factors. Thusly, by focusing completely on what’s in front of you as opposed to outside factors, you will find that your energy level will increase as your stress level decreases.
How To Live Mindfully Abroad
There are some key factors that all of us at the mindfulness seminar were able to take away and use in our everyday lives.
- Nourish your soul daily! Setting daily goals to work towards will provide you with guidelines of the tasks you want to accomplish. By writing them down, you will always have a list to reference, freeing your mind of unnecessary clutter.
- Discover a hobby that you enjoy! By putting time and effort into something that brings you joy will only result in happiness. Find out what that hobby is and put energy into doing what you love.
- Always be present. There’s no time like the present, so you should never spend it dwelling on past events you simply cannot change. Learn from you mistake to ensure that you are able to correct the same ones in the future.
- And most importantly, be kind and love YOURSELF! By always appreciating and loving yourself, you will find happiness in the places you travel, the people you meet and the experiences you gain. So get out there and go for it. Breathe, ease your mind, find your happiness, and love your experience abroad!