Student perspective: On mindful studying

by Beth Robinson, Bristol Futures Advocate

Mindfulness doesn’t have to comprise of sitting in a dark room for 15 minutes each morning listening to a playlist which professes to make you feel more alert for the day. In fact, it’s about just noticing things – being in the moment, and it can take whichever form you’d like. The sensation of your lips pressing against a glass of water; the temperature of the room you’re in; the texture of the fur of a pet. You get the idea – it’s not ‘all or nothing’, and it can take a completely different form for everyone. I often feel like I’m ‘too busy to be mindful’, although I do find it to be a useful tool when studying. So, these are just three of the things which have worked well for me to be mindful whilst studying, shared in the hope they might be useful to others! 

1) Breathe. Just breathe. Need I say more? I’m not an expert on mindful breathing, but I found this website useful: https://www.mindful.org/a-five-minute-breathing-meditation/

2) Notice the feeling of your fingertips as you type on a keyboard. Notice how much pressure it takes you to push them down; the temperature of the keys; the soft clicking sounds and the texture of the surface when you move your hands over it. The same goes for if you’re writing on paper – noticing the slight indentations the words create and any slight tinge to the paper can really help your mind to focus on the task. How many tabs are open on your computer? How many sheets of paper are on your desk? When you feel distracted, try to stay within that same environment, even if it’s not thinking directly about the task you’re trying to complete.

3) Download Forest’. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an app that awards you credits for staying off social media – then these credits are used to plant trees all around the world. Not only is it a great tool for staying off your phone, it’s also a way to be mindful of the environment around you and how your presence can contribute to making something fantastic happen. 

These are my three favourite ways to be mindful whilst studying, which I also find to increase my productivity and make me feel more content with the work I am doing. Whilst it can take some effort, it really is worth it in the long run.

More on mindfulness can be found here:  https://www.mindful.org/how-to-practice-mindfulness/

How do you practice mindfulness and which strategies do you use to stay focused whilst studying? Leave a note in the comments and see if anyone else has any top tips.

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