Mindful UNCW

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment with an attitude of curiosity, non-judgment, non-reactivity, and compassion. The pause that accompanies observing and naming one’s inner experiences (i.e., thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations) can disrupt automaticity of thought and behavioral habits, positioning us to make more conscious, deliberate choices in how we relate to ourselves, others, and the world around us. Mindfulness is both a way of relating to our internal experiences and a skill to be cultivated.

A substantial body of literature reviews the benefits of mindfulness relevant to higher education. Studies report improved cognitive and academic performance with the enhancement of attentional and processing skills, improved mental and psychological well-being, decreased stress, anxiety, and depression, greater emotional regulation and more positive mood states (Shapiro, Brown, Astin, 2008).

Mindfulness also supports the trend in higher education to focus on the development of the whole person, as the practice can support an increase in creativity, effective interpersonal skills, empathy, and self-compassion. Further, mindfulness-based pedagogy supports instructors’ capacity to both practice and teach mindfulness effectively; benefits influence the classroom climate and set the stage for the aforementioned changes to occur.

Shapiro, S., Brown, K. W., & Astin, J. A. (2008). Toward the Integration of Meditation into Higher Education: A Review of Research. Retrieved March 12, 2020 from http://www.contemplativemind.org/files/MedandHigherEd.pdf