College Students and Stress
Every two years, the Wellness Center administers the National College Health Assessment survey (NCHA) at Loyola. What do you think that students rate as the #1 factor that affects their ability to do well in school? You probably guessed it, the answer is STRESS! At universities across the nation, the answer is the same; stress is seen as the main barrier for achieving academic success. Stress cannot be avoided but there are ways to better manage it day to day, and the Wellness Center has resources to help students deal with stress. Since 2002, the Wellness Center has offered mindfulness meditation programs for students and many students have benefitted from these programs or have even incorporated mindfulness into their everyday lives.
What is Mindfulness?
"Mindfulness is moment-to-moment non-judgmental awareness cultivated through meditation and applied to any aspect of one's life." —Jon Kabat-Zinn
Mindfulness is a way of being. It allows us to face each moment as it comes. Be it positive, negative, or neutral. We so often live in the future worrying about this or that or we find ourselves stuck in the past, thinking about what could have been. Instead of living in the present moment, we move through the day on autopilot reacting to situations out of habit. Being aware of the present moment helps us see and assess the situation more fully, including our own innate resources. This gives us a choice on how to best react. Mindfulness meditation allows us to develop this type of present moment, non-judging awareness which is very powerful.
What are the benefits of mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation practices have been proven effective in reducing stress and improving overall well-being. One study has shown that those who meditate tend to recover more quickly from stressful events. Other benefits that come from a regular meditation practice that would enhance student life are:
Increased ability to relax
Increased energy and enthusiasm for life
Better work/school performance
On Campus Resources
Group Counseling: The Wellness Center has been offering mindfulness sessions to students since 2002. Led by a certified instructor, these groups provide support for new and long-term practitioners. Check out the list on our groups’ page.
Places to meditate on campus: Student recommended! Information Commons, the stacks in Cudahy library, chapel in Mundelein, Madonna della Strada Chapel, benches on lakefront.
Taize Prayer Service: Taize Prayer is a liturgy filled with song, scripture, and silent meditation. The sanctuary is candlelit, making a space that is ready for meditative silence and song. At Madonna della Strada Chapel
Yoga classes at Halas- Classes offered throughout the year
Insight Timer (free)
Stop, Think Breathe (free)
Headspace (Free for the first 2500 students who sign-up. Cost associated otherwise)
UCLA Mindful (free)
Healthy Minds Innovations (free)
Mindfulness Coach (free) Developed by the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs but not just for veterans
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life- Based at UC Berkeley, Greater Good reports on groundbreaking research into the roots of compassion, happiness, and altruism.
Mindful Self-Compassion: Kristi Neff: Definition, the science and practices.
Mindful Self-Compassion with Chris Germer: Practices
Ignatian Spirituality and the Daily Examen- A basic presentation of the "Daily Examen", an essential tool in Ignatian Spirituality in providing a helpful meditative technique.
Greater Good in Action Web App: Free evidence-based practices to promote greater well-being through exercises like Mindfulness Meditation, Cultivating Gratitude, Deep breathing exercises, and more!
Brown Center for Mindfulness: Live online community mindfulness sessions
UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness and UC San Diego Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion: Live online community mindfulness sessions
Yoga with Adriene: Mission - connect as many people as possible through high-quality free yoga videos. We welcome all levels, all bodies, all genders, and all souls.
University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness: Guided mindfulness and yoga practices
Research on Mindfulness
American Mindfulness Research Association: website and organization dedicated to dissemination of empirical research; excellent for finding new study results and new applications
MindRxiv: Open archive for research on mind and contemplative practices