What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is learning to be fully present in the moment with awareness, curiosity, kindness and without judgment.
Mindfulness practice, rooted in ancient practices of attention training, reduces stress, cultivates attention and expands awareness. It teaches us to observe ourselves and situations with calmness, clarity and presence. Using mindfulness, we can quietly tap into our inner life in the midst of a busy world, and be in wise relationship with our thoughts, emotions, and with others. We can become less reactive, and have improved health and well-being.
When mindfulness is practiced regularly, it teaches us to acknowledge our thoughts objectively and with kindness, to notice what is happening in the body, and to come back to the breath as a centering anchor.
A growing body of research demonstrates that mindfulness can not only reduce stress and anxiety, but also foster emotional regulation, impulse control, and increased positive states such as awareness, empathy, perspective-taking, gratitude, happiness, and overall social-emotional intelligence. Practicing mindfulness can build new neural pathways in the brain that increase attention skills, affecting the prefrontal cortex, the seat of attention which is responsible for executive function and working memory.
Three Minute Breathing Space (DOCX)
The Raisin Meditation (PDF)
Simple Breathing Meditation
- Relax and sit up with your spine straight, feet on the ground, hands in your lap, listening on purpose with the attitude that there is no place is more important than this present moment.
- Relax every muscle in your body and focus on your breath.
- Notice the feeling of air through your nose as you breathe in and fill your lungs.
- Slowly let the air out like a straw through your mouth.
- Use the breath as an anchor, and notice how your body feels. Where do you feel tension?
- If your mind wanders, if you have thoughts or hear sounds, notice them like passing waves, and return back to the breath.
- Practice for 5-20 minutes.
Opportunities for Mindfulness at UC
Mindfulness and Meditation Resources
Read more about Mindfulness in Education (PDF)
Additional Mindfulness Resources (PDF) (books, articles)