The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for College Students

The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for College Students

Kaitlin Gallo, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer, CCH

The pandemic and its many negative effects on college students’ lives and wellbeing have further highlighted the gap between the mental health services college students need and the services they are actually able to access. On college campuses, administrators have traditionally responded to increased student mental health needs by hiring licensed counselors on campus. Even the most well-resourced campuses, however, cannot keep up with the full mental health needs of the student body using this method. Moreover, while all students will need to support their mental health and wellness while in college, not all students will need counseling or therapy. 

Self-guided methods for supporting mental health and wellness are important for, and can be utilized by, all students regardless of their level of mental health need. Mindfulness meditation is one such method. Evidence-based, free or low-cost, and easily accessible—mindfulness meditation can play an important role in supporting college student mental health and wellness. 

“Mindfulness” means being fully present in the moment—noticing thoughts, feelings, judgments, and distractions that arise, and then nonjudgmentally redirecting attention back to the present moment. The benefits of mindfulness meditation, including better focus, lower stress, decreased anxiety levels, and improvements in chronic pain, have been widely touted and supported by thousands of research studies. A synthesis of the research on mindfulness meditation in college students shows that mindfulness meditation can decrease stress and anxiety in that population. 

While the goals of mindfulness might sound simple, mindfulness is a skill that takes continual practice. Many audio recordings, videos, and apps have been developed to help teach and promote the use of mindfulness meditation. Headspace is the leading and most recognizable of those interventions. With a mission of “improv[ing] the health and happiness of the world,” Headspace is an evidence-based meditation and mental training app that has demonstrated significant positive effects for users on measures of depression and resilience. The Headspace app has been used by over 62 million people in 190 countries. 

Christie Campus Health has recently entered into a partnership with Headspace to offer the Headspace mindfulness meditation app to students at Christie Campus Health’s college and university partner schools, giving students access to content that includes guided meditations, mindful movement exercises, eyes-open content (mindful walks and runs), breathing and wind-down exercises, Sleepcasts, soundscapes, focus music, and more. 

As mental health needs continue to increase, the mental health provider workforce, already taxed before the pandemic both on campuses and off, cannot possibly keep up. Fortunately, all students can utilize mindfulness meditation practice to support their mental health and wellbeing. An app like Headspace can give students a mental wellbeing tool at their fingertips, to use whenever and wherever they need it. 

 

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