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Mindfulness for Self-Care

Why do college students need ways to manage stress?

       Psychological disorders and stress-related problems are highly prevalent in the college student population. National studies have revealed the following:

  • “More than 80% of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do in the past year and 45% have felt things were hopeless” (American College Health Association, 2013).
  • “Mental health issues in the college student population, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, are associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of college” (Eisenberg et al., 2009).

mental illness in college students

       With the overwhelming extent of demands that are placed on college students, they often forget or don’t make time for healthy self-care practices. What students don’t realize is the importance of taking care of their own mental and physical well-being and the benefits that come along with it. Putting aside time for these practices can improve functioning in many different aspects (Canby et al., 2015). In addition to enhancing physical and mental well-being, it can have positive affects in other areas as well, such as in academics and employment.

       Mindfulness is one form of self-care that can be utilized. Mindfulness has gained popularity over recent years for many reasons. Mental health care professionals have studied the benefits of practicing mindfulness regularly and have discovered an abundance of evidence for the positive effects it has had on individuals. One reason mindfulness can become so appealing- especially for busy college students- is the fact that the skills can be used at any time, no matter where you are!

What is Mindfulness?

  • “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment-to-moment” (Kabat-Zinn, 2003).
  • “The repetitive act of directing your attention to only one thing in this one moment means training your mind to pay attention to what you choose to pay attention to instead of letting your mind hijack you” (Sanderson, 2012).

     Mindfulness is a skill that everyone can learn with practice. It encourages you to become more aware of your internal and external experiences in the present moment, from a nonjudgmental standpoint. This means observing your experiences and paying attention to them without judging these experiences as good or bad.

What are the benefits of Mindfulness?

      Learning to be mindful and accepting helps to develop resilience skills that can prevent a wide range of problems and difficulties. Something important to be aware of is that mindfulness can be beneficial to everyone, not only to those who suffer from mental health disorders. In addition, it is a form of self-care and helps prevent burnout while enhancing one’s sense of accomplishment. Clinical studies have found that some of the benefits of practicing mindfulness on a regular basis include:

Well Being and Mental Health                                                          

  • Boosts working memory                                                        
  • Relieves rumination                                                               
  • Stress reduction                                                                     
  • Creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events                     
  • Relieves depression
  • Relieves eating disorders
  • Helps with substance abuse
  • Relieves anxiety disorders


  • Reduce chronic pain
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve sleep
  • Alleviate stomach difficulties


  • Become more efficient                                                                      
  • Staying on task                                                                                  
  • Helps communication                                                            
  • Inspire ideas                                                                           
  • Increase energy levels


  • Increase capacity for learning
  • Develop observation skills
  • Emotional development
  • Improve concentration

…And so much more!    Visit for more information.


Below is a list of some of the resources that can be utilized to begin practicing:

  • Breathe2Relax

Breathe2Relax is an app that helps users learn “deep breathing” skills that are effective in stress management. This app is available for free for iPhone and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:


  • Insight Timer

Insight Timer is an app that provides users with a variety of resources including 4,889 FREE guided meditations, music, talks, and courses. This app is the most popular free meditation app in for both iPhone and Android phones.  

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or visit online at:


  • Mindfulness Coach

Mindfulness Coach is an app that offers information about mindfulness, mindfulness exercises, and provides users with a log to help track and optimize their practice. This app is available for free for iPhones.

iTunes website:

Smiling Mind (10 weeks based on age group)

Smiling Mind is an app that provides users with different programs based on their age group. The adult program consists of 10 modules with 42 sessions of mindfulness training and guided meditations. This app is available for free on iPhone and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more from the Smiling Mind website:

  • Stop, Breathe, & Think

Stop, Breathe, & Think provides users with helpful tools, including guided mindfulness meditation that is organized into a list based on topics and amount of time each one takes to complete. In addition, it provides logs that track your progress. This app is available for free download on iPhones and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more at:

  • Happify

Happify provides users with games, tools, and activities to help reduce stress an anxiety. Developers of this resource utilized evidence based practices of positive psychology, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy to create tools that are easily accessible to its users. Happify offers a variety of free programs, but also offers a Plus Membership option in which costs vary. Happify is available for download for iPhones and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more at:

  • Calm

Calm provides users with guided mindfulness and meditation exercises to help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and promote happiness. This app is free and available for download on both iPhones and Android phones.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:

Or learn more at:

  • Mindfulness Daily (21 day mindfulness exercises)

Mindfulness Daily provides users with access to daily mindfulness routines that can be completed in less than 15 minutes per day. This app is available for $1.99 for iPhone.

iTunes website:

  • Headspace

HeadSpace guides users through brief (10-minute) mindful meditations. You can download this app on an iPhone or Android phone. This app provides users with a free 10-day trial program. After the trial period, it costs $12.99 per month.

iTunes website:

Google Play website:


  • Palouse Mindfulness: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

This website provides free training through an 8-week online course created by a certified MBSR instructor and professional psychologist. On this website, you will find a week-by-week guide of MBSR through the use of videos, readings, and guided practices.



American College Health Association. American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2013. Linthicum, MD: American College Health Association; 2013.

Canby, N. K., Cameron, I. M., Calhoun, A. T., & Buchanan, G. M. (2015). A brief mindfulness intervention for healthy college students and its effects on psychological distress, self-control, meta-mood, and subjective vitality. Mindfulness, 6(5), 1071-1081.

Eisenberg, Daniel; Golberstein, Ezra; and Hunt, Justin B. (2009). Mental Health and Academic Success in College, The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 9 : Iss. 1 (Contributions), Article 40.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice,10, 144–156. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016.

Sanderson, C. (2012). Mindfulness for clients, their friends, and family members. Retrieved from

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