Mindfulness in education may help eliminate stress and enhance learning for those pursuing a higher education.
According to the Association for Mindfulness in Education, mindfulness has a long list of benefits including decreasing test anxiety, increasing the ability to orient attention, and decreasing depression.
Meditation and other mindfulness practices have been shown to increase the thickness of certain areas of the brain responsible for emotional response said Debbie Holexa, dental hygiene program director at the Red Mountain campus, who has her master’s degree in contemplative education.
“Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment to both our inner experiences and our outer environments,” Holexa said.
Top universities have recently acknowledged the benefits of mindfulness in learning.
Brown University now has a contemplative studies initiative supporting the use of mindfulness to help students learn.
UCLA also promotes mindfulness in education by providing drop in meditation classes.
According to Holexa, the basic principle of mindfulness is to be aware of the present. “People make the mistake of thinking meditation is always relaxing.
“Sometimes individuals find themselves restless and frustrated during meditation. This is part of the practice,” Holexa said.
For students interested in practicing mindfulness, Holexa suggests sitting for five minutes a day and focusing on breathing.
Holexa also offers free drop-in meditation classes at noon Monday through Thursday on the Red Mountain campus in Saguaro room 151.