The Power of Mindfulness in Home Study

The Power of Mindfulness in Home Study

There are more definitions of mindfulness than fish in the sea. Okay, not quite, but you get the idea…

These definitions vary from being aware of the present moment to purposefully focusing your attention on the here and now and what is happening within it, from being fully awake in your life to moment-to-moment awareness. Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment with the right attitude, fitting to that moment. Effectively it means to be “in the moment”.

Although the word and concept of mindfulness is bandied about wherever you go these days, it is indeed to your benefit to be mindful while studying.

So – how can you be mindful while studying, you are now asking.

Here’s how:

• The first thing to remember is that mindful studying takes practice. You will have to be patient and you will have to endeavour to reach a true state of mindfulness over and over again.

• Start off by spending a minute or two (a mindful moment) becoming aware of your physical surroundings when you sit down to study. This includes concentrating on the feeling of sitting in the chair and becoming aware of the sounds around you. Take a few breaths whilst focusing on the physical sensation of inhaling and exhaling. Pay attention to your own thoughts: is your mind really busy or fairly quiet right now?

• When you begin to work, set a timer. Initially about 20-25 minutes should suffice. Try to calm your mind and to focus on nothing but your studies for this period of time. Do not merely go through the motions of studying; instead study deliberately. Don’t think about what still needs to be done after this particular section of work; don’t think about anything else in your life; don’t allow thoughts of what you’d rather be doing instead of studying to drift into your mind. At this stage thinking about anything else will be nothing but a waste of energy.

• Once the time slot has ended reflect on what you have accomplished/what you have learnt in this period of time.

• Also ask yourself if – and how often – your mind wandered. If so, where did your mind go? Remember that mind-wandering is normal but remind yourself that you have control over your own mind which means that you have to ensure that your mind focuses again.

• Follow a drip-feed approach i.e. divide your study time into shorter periods wherein you practice mindful studying. This works better rather than an intense study session over a longer period of time.

• Ensure that you have variety and structure in your studies. This makes it easier to be mindful whilst you are studying. At the same time repetition (re-learning of sections of work) is also vital.

• The benefits of mindful studying include: improved attention span and ability to focus, better grades, better concentration in class, less stress about school work, reduced exam anxiety, greater perspective and better social skills.

The choice is yours: do you want to be Mind Full or Mindful?