This month, I was asked to write a blog on the topic of “anything.” So where does a school psychology graduate student’s mind wander when they’re tasked to write about anything? Mental health and well-being, of course!
Searching for a job, internship or co-op, research position or volunteer position can be stressful. Same goes for applying to graduate school. Believe me, I’ve been there! You’ve probably received some sage advice from others on these topics. Usually things like- “we’ve all been there, hang in there!” But how about some tangible strategies to help you refocus, quell your nerves, and find some relaxation in the process? Enter mindfulness.
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness is the defined as the “state of active, open attention on the present”. It allows you to observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without labeling them as “good,” “bad,” or “other.” If I’ve lost you, try and hear me out! Using mindfulness techniques can help you de-stress and de-clutter your mind, while helping you to be more alert and focused.
There are many ways you can practice mindfulness in your everyday life, which will carry over into your professional and career endeavors. Take these strategies for example:
Pay attention. In our technology driven world, we often spend any free time on our cell phones and devices. Next time you’re walking to class, try to be mindful of your surroundings. How the ground feels underneath your feet, the way the grass smells, and the sounds around you. This will help you to de-clutter your thoughts and have your mind focus on the present, allowing you to be more productive.
Mindful breathing. Mindful breathing includes sitting in a quiet space and noticing where you feel your breath. Most of us don’t give breathing a second thought since it happens automatically! However, mindful breathing helps to re-focus your brain. When you focus on your breathing, typically our mind wanders to other tasks or thoughts and feelings. As your thoughts wander, as it will do, bring your attention back to your breath.
Set your intentions. Job searching, applying to grad school, or figuring out what you want to do with your life can be overwhelming. Setting and achieving goals is incredibly important, but just as important (and mindful!) are setting your intention. Intentions can involve the types of positions you are looking to apply for, or how you would like to use your time applying for positions. To put this into practice, take some time to sit quietly and think about your searching process. What naturally comes to mind when you think about your hopes, fears, dreams and your future? Allowing yourself to understand and set your intentions will be crucial when you are finding positions that are right for you and your values.
If you want more information about how to incorporate mindfulness strategies into your everyday life, and in your job or graduate school search check out the links below.
Exercised gathered from: