The Mindfulness Movement

As an Alumni of Staffordshire University, I had the honour of studying there for four glorious years! After completing my BA Hons in Broadcast Journalism, I began my MSc in Digital Feature Film Production.

Strangely though, these degrees gave me skills I later translated into other jobs not related to my degrees. I went on to work at a digital marketing agency, as well as being one of the Outreach Managers at Righttrack Consultancy, a company that creates bespoke training sessions on topics like Customer Service and Unconscious Bias.

We’ve recently been working on developing some new Mindfulness Training, in light of the recent Mental Health Awareness Week at the beginning of May. It really made me think about my own journey of Mindfulness while studying at Staffs, and what it meant for me now!

When you think of Mindfulness, it’s usually associated with stress, and what is student life without a bit of stress! It hits us all, and it hit me pretty hard in the second year of my degree. I realised I didn’t want to be a journalist, and that meant my entire degree was called into question. If that doesn’t cause stress, I don’t know what will!

I consider myself very lucky I had such a strong support network around me, but I did have to attend a few counselling sessions when I was feeling very low. Others I know have not been so lucky!

A recent NUS Survey in 2015 showed that 78% of students have suffered with a mental health problem in the past year, with 33% sayings they have also had suicidal thoughts. 54% of the survey population said that when they experienced mental health problems, they didn’t seek support. This could be because they didn’t want to appear “weak”, or maybe because they were too scared to talk.

But with Mindfulness training, there are studies that prove its worth! A study conducted by the University of Oxford had 273 people use an online Mindfulness course and recorded their results:

  • 58% of applicants saw a reduction in anxiety,
  • 57% of applicants saw a reduction in depression, and
  • 40% of applicants saw a reduction in stress!

This is amazing news, and as you can tell by the stats from the NUS survey, very much prove the need for Mindfulness within universities. I didn’t realise what Mindfulness was when I studied at Staffs, but I had my own techniques to help me get by.

When I was helping put together our Mindfulness Matters infographic, it was great to not only put in my own thoughts and experiences, but actually realising that what I was doing to calm myself was what universities and training programmes are suggesting to do – excellent!

Here’s a few suggestions I can make about what I did to conquer my stress, and what you can do to help yourself should you need it!

  • Bringing yourself back into the moment, be in the present: This is very important if you’re starting to stress about exams or deadlines. Stop thinking about what will happen if you don’t reach the deadline, or the results of failing your exam – just stay in the moment and focus on what you need to do!
  • Literally walk away from your stress: Sometimes taking things literally can be really helpful! If you’ve been staring at your screen aimlessly, literally stand up and walk around. Whether that’s in your room, the halls of the Thompson library at midnight before your deadline or just around Hanley Park!
  • Meditate: Very cliché, and something I wasn’t introduced to until my MSc year, but meditating is very helpful when you’re trying to relax. You can focus on your breathing and bring you back to the present – plus it will help you calm your breath before a panic attack.

 

By Helen Fulton, Outreach Manager at Right Track Consultancy

Guest Blog
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This is one of our Guest blogs - from either a current student or alumni. You can find the author at the bottom of the post.

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