The benefits of mindfulness and meditation seem to be all over the news, on television, in movies and on social media. While it sounds intriguing, for many people the terms conjure images of robed yogis floating in the clouds. In fact, the benefits of regular practice can help you get and stay grounded. People who meditate report reductions in stress and improvements in concentration, sleep and mood – all of which contribute to academic success!
Renowned meditation teacher and author Jon Kabat-Zinn says mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally”. For some this comes naturally. For most it is a skill that can be practiced and learned. Fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your day that won’t overload your schedule. CAPS mindfulness and meditation programs aim to make the benefits of mindfulness accessible to every student. You can try some of the skills by visiting the pages below. Or join us for one (or more) of the many four-week groups offered each semester.
UNC students report that Meditation and Mindfulness have helped them:
Observe my feelings.
Feel more positive and energized.
Be more centered and focused.
Manage stress and anxiety.
There are various methods of meditation, formal and informal, as determined by the focal point that attention is trained to.
Mindfulness describes both a form of meditation and a way of being in the world. For example, you might sit for a period of time following your breathing, noticing thoughts and other experiences entering into your consciousness, but always returning your attention to your breath. You might be walking across campus and instead of thinking about the exam coming up in a couple of days decide instead to focus your attention solely on the sights and sounds and sensations around you.
This site offers a sample of meditation and mindfulness practices in the links on the right sidebar. Take a moment to slow down, stop, and smell the flowers.