What is mindfulness, really? Every time I enter the BuzzFeed black hole or scroll through my Twitter feed, there’s an article about how mindfulness can improve our lives. Mindfulness is supposed to be good for you, but it seems kind of out there, doesn’t it? Here’s why it’s worth trying anyway.

Developing the skill of mindfulness can help you manage your stress (which we know you have a lot of) and get more satisfaction from your life. Mindfulness is actually very straightforward: It’s the practice of learning to hold your attention on what you are doing, thinking, and experiencing in the moment.

Guide to Koru Mindfulness and how it helps students
Dr. Holly Rogers co-developed the Koru Mindfulness program for college students (currently available on more than 60 campuses in the US). Trials have shown that the Koru program is effective in helping students feel less stressed, better rested, more compassionate, and more mindful. Dr. Rogers is a psychiatrist at Duke University and co-author of Mindfulness for the Next Generation: Helping Emerging Adults Manage Stress and Lead Healthier Lives (Oxford University Press, 2012).

This is the first in Dr. Rogers’s series on mindfulness for Student Health 101. Coming in October: Present moment awareness.

Jack’s story
Jack was a student athlete who used mindfulness to help him cope with a knee injury. He had come to the Koru Mindfulness class to manage his physical pain and emotions from being unable to play his sport.

During one class, he told us that he was getting a steroid injection later that day. He’d had one before, and it had been extremely painful. He had been dreading the next injection until he started using mindfulness.

“I understand that it will hurt like crazy, but right now, nobody is sticking a needle in my knee. If I stay in the present moment, I feel fine. Worrying about it now is not going to make it hurt less when it happens,” he said.

His pain did not exist in that moment, and he was choosing to stay right where he was—the present.

How to get started
Try it at least once a day and see if you can spend more time being mindful.

+ Listen to one of these guided meditations

avatar-img
Dr. Holly Rogers co-developed the Koru Mindfulness program for college students (currently available on more than 60 campuses in the US). Trials have shown that the Koru program is effective in helping students feel less stressed, better rested, more compassionate, and more mindful. Dr. Rogers is a psychiatrist at Duke University and co-author of Mindfulness for the Next Generation: Helping Emerging Adults Manage Stress and Lead Healthier Lives (Oxford University Press, 2012).