Mindfulness for College Students
College can be emotionally draining, and it’s important not to neglect your mental health. A 2008 study from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions revealed that 50% of college-age students have suffered from a psychiatric disorder.
Here are some self-care and mindfulness tips for students that may be struggling emotionally or psychologically.
1. Free College Counseling
Many universities and community colleges now come with counseling centers with a staff of therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
Oftentimes, psychiatric services are also included in your college bill with student health insurance at the university hospital. If the hours for counseling don’t work for you or you max out your therapy sessions, ask your campus counseling center for a trusted referral. Psychology schools or community therapy organizations often offer discount therapy on a sliding scale.
Don’t overrule group therapy as well! Sessions are often cheaper, or free, and it may be helpful to relate to other students with similar concerns.
2. Guided Meditations
Meditating is a free, easy, and popular way to decreasing unhelpful chatter in your mind and practice mindfulness.
For beginners, guided meditations are a helpful start to unwinding and relaxing. You can find specific guided meditations to help you boost your self-esteem, de-stress, and sleep.
You can also check out apps that help you with personalized meditations, such as Headspace and Calm. Many people find meditating spiritual or empowering because of the positive focus on one’s mind and thoughts.
Journaling is a helpful way to self-reflect and focus on your values.
Ruminating on bad thoughts can be harmful long-term on one’s emotional wellness. Releasing those thoughts by writing them down is a way to release pent-up frustration and stress.
Mindful journaling can help release people focus on positive affirmations. Try writing a list of positive qualities about yourself or recent achievements. It’s important to focus on the positive and not get stuck on disappointments and small setbacks.
The Stigma app on iOS also incorporates daily journaling with mood tracking.
4. Online Community Support
Sometimes, it’s hard to get help and find like-minded people in your campus or community. Luckily, there are more support groups than ever on the internet, with users from all over the country and the world.
Online communities that include members dedicated to listening and comforting include 7 Cups and Therapy Tribe. Pacifica is a wellness app that helps people sound off on topics such as how they destress, what they are grateful for, and what quotes inspire them. Community members are able to discuss their stressors and receive help from other supportive users.
There are also support groups for those with specific needs, such as groups inclusive for LGBT students, or students struggling with alcohol or drug use.
Keep in mind that most people in online communities do not have degrees in psychology and support from communities cannot replace advice and care from a mental health professional.
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