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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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Staff editorial: Mindful living for students

In today’s culture, life moves at a rapid pace.

One is constantly bombarded with stimuli, assignments and obligations.

The competitive atmosphere of a capitalistic economy creates a daily routine focused on speed, quantity and long-term goals.

The pressures of an accomplishment centered culture is especially felt by college students.

This week, the University of Mary Washington emmindfulnessbraced “Mindfulness and Meditation,” a practice that can improve one’s standard of living by decreasing stress, as well as increasing a person’s capability for happiness.

Mindfulness, in its essence, is looking at one’s life and thoughts without judgment.

Mindfulness meditation takes it a step further by meditating on one’s breathing, and when an encroaching thought approaches, looking at it with self-compassion, and then letting the mind wander back to the breathing.

It seems like a complicated concept, but like anything else, it takes practice to master, and the practice will in of itself give results.

Mindfulness can bring about a more content, balanced life by highlighting people’s “innate awareness of our unique and sacred existence, which is automatically stirred in our mindfulness of the present moment,” as Dona Rockwell writes in her article in the Huffington Post.

College students are always under harsh scrutiny or judgment.

Whether it be on a paper by a professor, the judgment of peers, or the harshest judgment of all from the inner self, giving mostly negative reinforcement to everyday decisions and interactions.

It is no secret that most college students face a huge amount of anxiety.

It is also not a secret that there is a large rate of partying and binge drinking that goes on in college as a way to alleviate such anxiety.

Yet, there is a much healthier, longer lasting method of coping with the trials of day-to-day life for 20-year-olds and older; being mindful.

Each negative thought about grades, about one’s body image or about the relationship that is too hard to let go of, stop and notice the thought.

Take each thought and think of it in terms of self-compassion, meaning, see it through the lens of non-judgment.

What happened, happened. The moment to be living in is now.

Be mindful and aware of the present experience with non-judgment.

UMW’s mindfulness and mediation week is applicable and important to each and every student on campus and is a great way to promote a healthier way of being.

It would never be time wasted for a student to learn more about mindful living.