This is intriguing: A Baltimore, MD school has replaced detention with meditation to remarkable positive results. It turns out the time in the Mindful Moment Room is a golden ticket for young students who previously got into trouble on a regular basis.
Mindfulness is simply the state of being aware of our present moment on the planet and in our lives. It’s about focusing our attention on appreciating the here and now.
College is that quintessential time when students are swept up into a flurry of activity from morning to night, and it’s astonishingly easy to lose sight of yourself, your motivations, and your goals when moving so fast.
That is why mindfulness is so powerful for college students.
It helps them manage emotions, improve their memory, increase their attention span, enhance their ability to learn, and has physical benefits as well. And being mindful of who we are and where we are prevents us from doing things we would not be proud of tomorrow or a year from now or when we are sitting in a rocking chair thinking back on our lives. (Does anyone do that anymore??) Mindfulness can help us avoid regrets. And no one likes those.
Many students complain that they simply don’t have time to meditate or do meditative yoga or some of the traditional mindfulness practices.
Here’s an idea. In her commencement speech at UC Berkeley, Sheryl Sandberg offered a suggestion for a fabulous mindfulness practice: every night, write down three moments of joy before going to bed. (I would suggest using the same notebook or computer document each time.) This exercise not only focuses your attention on the things you are grateful for so that you go to bed feeling joy and gratitude, but citing these night after night after night turns out to be a way of articulating your most important life values. Then you can observe how they change over time so that you can make even better decision in your daily life through time.
This practice takes but moments every evening, and the results are more than worth it.
For many years, as a dean at three Ivy League colleges and now as an AVP at a university with an extraordinary mission, I have had a front row seat to the obstacles to success that college students and their parents confront every year. Even at so-called elite, highly selective colleges such as Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia, where I spent some of my career, students struggle on a daily basis to remain healthy, happy, grounded, and to stay in school. I am dedicated to helping them.