Counseling Center

Mindfulness

Mind Full or Mindful

Do you feel stressed out?

Do you struggle to stay focused?

Do you spend too much time going over things that happened in the past?

Are you always thinking about what you have to do next?

Do you walk to class so focused on other things that you don’t notice what is going on around you?

Do you find yourself listening to friends with one ear while also thinking about something else?

If you answered yes to some of the questions above, you might benefit from increasing your mindfulness!

What is Mindfulness?

Outdoor shots of Pacific Northwest in Washington

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that.  It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.”–Sylvia Boorstein

Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment. Mindfulness practices can help challenge the ways that we can be stuck in automatic pilot–moving through our days with our minds in the past or the future while missing out on the present. Learning how to wake up and be present with mindfulness can be a powerful tool for reducing stress and connecting with our minds and bodies.  In fact, research shows that mindfulness can help with many areas of well-being, including reducing stress, increasing concentration and working memory, improving sleep, letting go of anxieties about the future, and being less stuck in thoughts about the past.


How Mindfulness Helps

Studies show that practicing mindfulness can help with a variety of concerns, from depression to chronic pain. How mindfulness practice produces these effects is a topic of a growing body of research. Current research suggests that practicing mindfulness can change connections in our brains in a way that helps our brain do a better job of tasks like staying calm and focusing.  For example, research has shown that people who practiced mindfulness meditation had less activity in their amygdala (the “fight or flight” center of the brain) and more activity areas of the brain associated with concentration, self-awareness, and shifting attention.

How automatic response are wired in the brain and how to change them using mindfulness:

How mindfulness works and the research support for mindfulness:

 


Mindfulness Resources at the Counseling Center

Workshops and Groups

Mindfulness and Acceptance for Anxiety (Winter 2019)

Mindfulness for Wellness

  • When: Fridays 10:30 ᴀᴍ – 12:00 ᴘᴍ (January 18 to March 1)
  • Who: All students.

Are you struggling with anxiety? Is anxiety, worry, or panic getting in the way of you doing things you care about?

This workshop will help you learn how to experience anxiety without it being a problem for you. Anxiety is a part of life, even if we wish that it wasn’t. So this workshop isn’t about getting rid of anxiety– it’s about learning how to put anxiety in its proper place. You will learn how to change your response to anxiety so that anxiety can be a part of your life without it controlling your life and stopping you from doing the things you care about.

This is a 6-session workshop open to all UW undergraduate and graduate students. There will be in-session discussion and practice mindfulness and acceptance skills. There will be suggestions each week of exercises for you to complete on your own. You can expect to leave the workshop with new skills that you can use to be present and do what’s important to you even when anxiety shows up.

Note: Students must be a Counseling Center client in order to sign up. Please call 206-543-1240 to schedule an intake appointment.

Mindfulness Mondays

mindful

  • WhenMondays, 12:00 ᴘᴍ – 12:30 ᴘᴍ (no meeting during finals week).
  • Who: All students.

Feeling frazzled from balancing all the daily demands of life?

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and promotes health and well-being by cultivating greater emotional awareness. Come for a 30-minute mindful break to start your week.

Each drop-in class will begin with a brief introduction to mindfulness followed by an experiential guided meditation practice. The intention of the practice is to increase the ability to be present, curb your inner critic, and to create greater mental and emotional space by letting go of the things that have been weighing you down in order to stay grounded and centered.

Note: This class is open to all registered UW students and no intake appointment is required. Pre-registration is not required, but please arrive on time to not disrupt other students’ practice. Please note that this workshop is not professional counseling.

 


Mindfulness Resources On and Off Campus

Campus Mindfulness Resources

Hall Health Mental Health Clinic

Mindfulness groups are offered quarterly

depts.washington.edu/hhpccweb/support-groups/

IMA and Student Quarterly Mindfulness Pass

Quarter-long mindfulness classes are offered at the IMA, and drop-in classes are offered on central campus.

washington.edu/ima/classes/mindfulness/yoga-info/

Henry Drop-In Thursdays

Drop-in mindfulness-mediation sessions at the Henry Art Museum

henryart.org/programs/all

Off-Campus Mindfulness Resources

Seattle Insight Meditation Society.

Offers a variety of in-person and online meditation trainings.

seattleinsight.org


Be Mindful Now!

This video illustrates a practice that can help you use mindfulness in moments when you’re experiencing difficult thoughts:

The Whole U Meditation Series has a variety of guided meditation exercises led by UW staff and faculty.

washington.edu/wholeu/meditations/

The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has a variety of free online guided mindfulness meditations

marc.ucla.edu/mindful-meditations


Apps

Practice Being Present

Calm. This app has a range of guided meditation exercises. The exercises cover the basics of mindfulness meditation, such as mindful breathing, in sessions that are only a few minutes. There’s also a library of calming music and a selection of “sleep stories” to help you fall asleep. For a subscription fee, you can unlock additional content including content focused on specific topics such as sleep and anxiety.

Stop, Breathe & Think. This app starts with a “check in” about how you are feeling, and then chooses the mindfulness exercises best suited to your mood. The free version has a variety of meditation exercises and activities. For a fee, you can unlock additional exercises.

Headspace. This app uses animations to teach and illustrate the basics of mindfulness and meditation. The free version grants you a basic package of 10 days of guided meditation and a number of mini-practices. You can stick with this package or pay a monthly subscription fee to unlock additional content that is more focused on specific wellness topics. There is also an active blog with useful content.

Insight Timer. This app has a large library of guided meditations, including those focused on mindfulness. There’s also a world map that shows you how many people are meditating at any time, and you can invite friends to join in with you to talk about mindfulness topics.

Smiling Mind. This app has 10 modules of mindfulness training. Each module focuses on a theme with meditations and activities to help you establish a regular practice. It also has a variety of brief 1-3 minute meditations.

Fluid Dynamics. Drawing colors on the screen using your finger that then swirl and drain away can help you be mindful in the moment.