Mindfulness training for students: Live a better student life

Written by Kerstin Lakits, Aug 18, 2022

Our society often admires multitasking. Answering emails at breakfast, finishing your homework on your way to university or writing your grocery list while you are on a call with your bestie. Students have a lot to do and are often stressed. In the long run doing everything at the same time can be detrimental to your health. Today we will show you how you can use mindfulness to escape this constant stress in our fast-paced society and which benefits mindfulness brings to your life.

What does mindfulness mean?

The concept of mindfulness originates in Buddhism. The main principle is to live each moment mindfully and to focus on your physical and emotional state. This way you can gain some distance from your emotions, reactions and everyday life, which allows you to re-evaluate them. Mindfulness is even used in medicine. The molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn has used the Buddhist mindfulness training to create MBSR – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

Benefits of mindfulness training

Mindful living has many incredible benefits for your health and daily life. You will notice positive changes quickly, after approx. 2 months.

1. Stress regulation

Especially towards the end of the term during exam period, stress can become overwhelming. Your body releases more cortisol and adrenaline, two stress hormones. Too much stress has negative effects on your mood, concentration and motivation. This can be an additional hardship and influence your academic performance negatively. Mindfulness training can reduce chronic stress by 25%.

2. Brain performance

The myth of multitasking has been dispelled. Scientific findings show that our brain can never perform two tasks at the same time, but rather switches quickly between tasks. This requires a lot of energy and tires your brain. If you only focus on one task, your brain works more efficiently and quicker.

3. Memory

Mindfulness training improves your memory and trains your working memory. This helps you following lectures and studying for exams. Do you have difficulties studying for an exam? Then check out more tips for quick memorisation!

4. Concentration

Mindfulness training teaches you not to get distracted by wandering thoughts. You will be able to focus on the lecture and study more effectively. Here is more information on mind wandering!

5. Regulating emotions

Do you suffer from test anxiety? Do you get anxious when you have to give a presentation? Then mindfulness can help reduce your anxiety. In mindfulness training, you learn to create some distance from your emotions and observing them from “the outside” without judging them. Here are more tips for test anxiety!

6. Interpersonal relationships

Mindfulness and the calm and relaxation that comes with it make living with your STUWO flatmates and working with your fellow students easier. You are not only calmer, but also present with other people.

7. Gut health & eating habits

Distracted and quick eating can cause numerous digestive troubles. If you turn off distractions such as your phone, TV, etc. and focus consciously on your food, then you take more time for your meals and thereby enjoy every single bite. You will also feel satiated sooner.

How can I practice mindfulness?

Living mindfully is not that easy. You plan to be more mindful, but then the stress of everyday life and endless TO-DO lists take away any calm. That is why you should start by integrating little exercises into your daily life. These little exercises add up and create a more mindful way of life. Here are five mindfulness exercises that you can quickly and easily try!

Exercise #1: Taking a mindful moment

Stop for a moment. Take one minute to stand still or sit still. Pay attention to your breath and relax your shoulders. What do you perceive with your senses in this moment? Is it hot or cold, loud or quiet? Where are you? What do you see? How do you feel in this moment? This will bring you back to the present moment.

You can also set reminders on your phone so that you do not forget to take a mindful moment during your day.

  • Suitable for: slowing down on the way to university, to your next lecture or on your way home

Exercise #2: Breath work

Your body provides the ideal tool to bring yourself back into the present moment and away from your thoughts: your breath. Relax your muscles and pay attention to your breath. Do you breathe into your stomach or into your chest? Do you breathe through your nose or mouth? You can also count your breaths. Inhale = 1, exhale = 2 and so on. Start from the beginning at 10.

You will notice that your thoughts will get quieter, your heartbeat slows down and your body relaxes. The best thing about this exercise is that you can do it everywhere anytime.

  • Suitable for: short relaxation in the metro, elevators, lecture hall…

Exercise #3: Meditation

Meditation has countless benefits for your mental and physical health because your mind and your body calm down. 10-20 minutes daily improve your quality of life.

Find a comfortable position, you can either sit or lay down. Release your muscles, close your eyes and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, then let your thoughts go and come back to your breath. If you want a guided meditation, you can find countless videos on the internet.

Here are more tips if you are just getting into meditation!

  • Suitable for: a focused start into your day before university or to calmly end your day after university

Exercise #4: Tea meditation

Do you want to try a tea meditation? (Of course, you can also do a coffee meditation) Make a cup of your favourite beverage. Consciously choose a mug, watch the hot water that drenches your tea bag and how the water changes colour. Then sit down, feel the mug in your hands and take mindful sips of your tea. How does your tea taste? Is it hot? Does it smell good?

The most important part of this exercise is hat you drink your tea without any distractions. No phone in your hand, no TV in the background or reading simultaneously.

  • Suitable for: a break in between lectures

Exercise #5: Yin Yoga

If you have a little bit more time, then you can try a deeply relaxing Yin Yoga session. You do not necessarily have to go to a Yoga studio, you also do not have to be an experienced Yogi or be flexible. Grab a Yoga mat, a carpet or any soft underground. There are countless free Yoga classes online.

The focus of Yin Yoga is being mindful of your body. Therefore, you have slow movements and many breaks. They give you the opportunity to focus on your breath and body.

Suitable for: deep relaxation after university

Tools for more mindfulness

Apps for mindfulness

The mindful movement has made its way to the digital world. A proof for that are the countless apps in the play store. For example:

Digital Detox

On the other hand, how about you gain some distance from your phone? New messages, emails and social media platforms are distractions that drag you back into the digital world. It is easy to get lost in our devices even though we do not want to. Turn your phone off or leave it at home.


Sometimes it can be helpful to externalise your thoughts on paper to slow them down. Journaling can be a great opportunity to see how you are doing, where you are in life and where you want to go in the future.

  • What was a moment of joy or beauty that you have experienced today?
  • How do you want to feel at the end of the day? What can you do so that you feel like that?
  • How can you implement mindfulness into your day?

There are more journal prompts (insights or questions for journal entries) for different topics on Pinterest and Co.

Morning routine

If it is hard for you to implement mindfulness in your days, you can try to start your day mindfully. A morning routine helps you to make room for mindfulness. Depending on how much time you have in the morning, you can do mindfulness exercises or other rituals that ground you. Here are some inspirations for a great morning routine!


How can I live a mindful life?

A good start are the above-mentioned mindfulness exercises. All these small moments of stillness turn your stressful student life into a more mindful life. Just pick an exercise and get started. The rest comes with time.

What is the difference between mindfulness and meditation?

Mindfulness is a concept by which you live your life. Meaning that you focus on this and do exercises to enforce it. Meditation is one exercise to practice mindfulness.

How long does it take to learn mindfulness?

New habits and skills are not learned over night. That is not the point. With every exercise and day on which you practice mindfulness, you will learn to live more mindfully.  In the beginning, you might have to set reminders, but at some point, mindfulness will become a fix part of your life. You will notice positive effects after 2 months.

Hopefully this article was helpful and gave you an insight into mindfulness training and some exercises and tips that you can implement into your life. You can create calm moments with these mindfulness exercises, which is helpful for your mental and physical health. So, take a moment and find stillness!


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