by Sarah Fellows
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is having a present-time awareness to our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surroundings, using our five senses without judging our experience. Applying simple mindful practices into your daily routine of activities is doable, realistic and helpful. The requirements of gaining the benefits of the below techniques are; Practice, Presence, Patience
Mindfully preparing for exams by studying, sleeping, hydrating, breathing exercises, limiting cell phone usage and a having a support system in place, can positively contribute to your exam experience. Also, a little laughter goes a long way! Implementing a little laughter or humour into your day brings positive energy, as laughing releases endorphins in the brain, relieving stress and tension. A little laughter goes a long way!
Attitude of Gratitude
- Gratitude is an acknowledgement of thanks, kindness, and appreciation
- A daily practice of giving thanks goes a long way.
- It sets the tone for the day
- By acknowledging our thanks can uplift our mood
- Shifts your attitude and reinforces positive states
- Upon rising in the morning, take a few moments to acknowledge why you are grateful. E.g. family, health, rain, etc
- Start a gratitude journal
- Write a thank-you note
- Show a parent, mentor or friend gratitude
- It takes less than 30 seconds to take three deep breaths and regroup
- It is scientifically proven that taking deep breaths can bring calm.
- Taking deep breathes can help you to relax, refocus and reset by quieting the sympathetic system (fight or flight) bringing one to calm
- Take a few moments to practice taking deep, slow breaths daily
- Take a few moments throughout the day to pause and check-in with yourself.
- Helps to gauge your emotional climate and to notice any shifts in mood.
- Help take an account of how you are feeling)
- A mindful pause allows you to pause and gives you a choice as to whether you respond or react to the situation or experience at hand.
Mindful of Drinking water
- Drink your first glass upon waking in the morning
- Extremely important to keep the body hydrated
- Allows for oxygen to be delivered through the body
- Refreshes the mind and body
- Helps with concentration
- You can add lemon, oranges, cucumber or other fruits to flavour water.
- Do away with the sugary drinks and limit junk food
Mindful of Sleep
- Set the tone: Turn off / unplug technology; phone, computer, etc.
- Allow time to settle
- Few deep, slow breaths
- 8-10 hours of sleep is required for teenagers
- Cuts down on irritability
- Helps to Improve thinking ability
- Go to sleep at the same time when possible
- We as humans have many thoughts a day, and most of them are negative
- Practice positive self-affirmations daily to help replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts;
- Post them on a mirror, dresser, refrigerator, door, cell phone/computer as a reminder or simply repeat them a few times throughout the day
Mindful of Cell phone Usage
- Limit cell phone usage leading up to exam Enable screen time setting on cell phone to monitor your cell phone use.
- Cell phones are a distraction
- Receiving text messages or any updates on our phones constitutes as little rewards, which trigger the feel-good chemical dopamine, that is released in the brain. Seeking for that same pleasurable feeling encourages us to continuously check our cell phones resulting in wasting time.
- Turn cell phones off or off when studying
- Put in another room
- Ask for help; teacher, parent/s, friend, someone who you can trust.
- Study Body
- Attend Tutorials
- Review work weekly throughout the school year
While these mindful techniques are helpful while taking exams, they are equally useful to help navigate through life’s daily stresses. As we all know, being a teenager has its challenges such as; peer pressure, social media, and home-work, to name a few. By implementing mindfulness techniques into your daily routine can add a wholesome quality to all areas of your life.
P.S. You don’t have to be stressed to practice.
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness:
- Improved focus and concentration
- Increase calm
- Reduce stress & anxiety
- Improve impulse control
- Increase self-awareness
- Develop a skilful response to difficult emotions
- Reduces behaviour problems in the classroom
- Increase empathy and understanding of others
- Develop conflict resolution skills
- Contributes to overall-well being
This article was originally posted in the 2019 edition of RG Scholarships.