How to reduce stress with mindfulness

Cecilia Torres

Syllabi need to be printed, books and parking passes need to be bought, finding parking is a challenge, and financial aid troubles need to be fixed as soon as possible.The beginning of the semester is always busy, so busy that it’s easy to forget things that need to get done.That’s where practicing mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness can help with the overwhelming stress of a busy semester as well as all the other little stressors in your everyday life. “Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment –and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness” according to the Harvard Health article “Benefits of Mindfulness.”For students, no matter their age grade level or grade point average, mindfulness can be one of the best tools for success. We are often told to make conscious decisions about maintaining the physical health of our bodies, whether this be making better nutritional choices or finding new ways to stay active. It only makes sense that we also take care of our mental health.Mindfulness can be anything from simply journaling or observing your thoughts and feelings, to the more extensive practices such as meditation and talk therapy. Jenna Cho writes in her article “6 Scientifically proven benefits of mindfulness and meditation,” that mindfulness has been proven to do things such as reduce anxiety, prevent and treat depression and help the brain reduce distractions, to name a few. On a college campus, there is no shortage of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues among the students. “According to CDC data, suicide rates among American 15 to 24-year-olds has risen 51% over the past 10 years, attributed to rising levels of depression and anxiety among this age demographic” wrote Garen Staglin for his Forbes article, “Addressing Mental Health Challenges on College Campuses.” It comes as no surprise that poor mental health affects student performance. There is only so much “pushing through it” and pretending nothing is wrong can do. “Mental health problems can affect student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, and optimism, hindering performance,” according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. “Research suggests that depression is associated with lower grade point averages, and that co-occurring depression and anxiety can increase this association. Depression has also been linked to dropping out of school.”While you can take your own approach towards learning to adopt mindfulness practices, such as researching online how to start mindful journaling, eating, or meditation. You can also count on resources here at the CSU Bakersfield campus. Our Student Health Center here at CSUB offers individual therapy, group therapy and workshops. Also, there is a crisis counselor you can call by dialing the Counseling Center’s phone number (661-654-3366) and pressing two, they will help you find resources as well as assist you with urgent mental health concerns.It is never too late to learn about mindfulness. I think all students should practice some form of mindfulness so that they can enjoy the college experience.