I have really enjoyed my journey of planting seeds of mindfulness, happiness and well-being among Yale-NUS College students since 2017. I have designed and conducted many different courses for the students such as Introduction to Mindfulness, A Mindful Journey to Happiness, Mindfulness and Compassion during COVID-19, Basic Mindfulness Practices for Self-care, Psychology of Mindfulness, Enhanced Performance & Exam Preparation: Develop your focus & attention with mindfulness exercises, etc. It’s wonderful to see how the students open their heart and mind to cultivate mindfulness skills and the habits of happiness to help them thrive in their college life.
Following are some tips that I have shared with my students to integrate mindfulness into their daily life on campus:
Wake up: smile and feel grateful for another day.
Mindful shower: become aware of the sensation of water on the skin, of the sounds of water, and relax the whole body.
Mindful breakfast: keep the phone away, eat the food with all the senses, chew the food very well and feel grateful for having good food to eat today.
Mindful breathing in the lift: after pressing the lift button, return to the breathing and count how many breaths you take till you arrive at your chosen floor.
Mindful walking around campus: allow your body to relax, feel your footsteps, enjoy the breeze, smell the flowers, notice the sunshine, listen to the birds and the winds, let go of your projects, even for a few minutes of walking.
Take a break from the screen: every 30 minutes just take three deep breaths, look up and see the clouds or rest your eyes before continuing your work.
Opening and closing the doors: feel the sense of touch of the hand with the door handles, reminding yourself to take three deep breaths and enter a new space with an open heart and open mind. When you close the door, close it gently and tell yourself to leave everything behind.
Mindful sitting: whenever you sit down, make sure you put your two feet firmly on the floor to feel grounded, sit upright but not rigid, feel the contact of the body with the surface you are on, take three deep breaths to feel present.
Mindful listening: take the time to listen to your heart, aware of your breaths, listen to your body and your inner voice to check in with yourself. Whenever you are in communication with someone else, remind yourself of your intention: listen to understand.
Mindful speaking: take a few breaths and check in with your feelings before you speak. Whenever you speak, remind yourself of your intention: speak in such a way to inspire joy, confidence and hope, in oneself and in others.
Mindfulness bells: using different signals to return to the present moment (sounds of phone ringing, bird songs, flowers, smiles and laughter, mindfulness bell on computer) by taking a few deep breaths, relaxing the whole body and calming the mind.
Mindful moments: follow the breathing and take some gentle stretches to be more in touch with the body when working online.
Mindful drinking: take the time to stop, breathe and enjoy a tea or a coffee mindfully with all the senses.
Power nap: recharging and reconnecting with the body with some deep relaxation practice even for a few minutes in the middle of a day.
Stop, breathe and smile: whenever going to the bathroom, just allow yourself to rest; when you wash your hands, allow the water to calm the whole body; when you look into the mirror, smile, and thank yourself for showing up today.
Mindful writing: take a pencil and paper and write three things that bring you joy and make you feel grateful today.
Turn off your phone or put to flight mode before bedtime.
Cultivate a positive thought before closing your eyes and sleep.