Being a master’s student abroad is not always easy. Cultural shock from being far away from home is common. Complying with numerous deadlines and exams can also take a toll on your mental wellbeing.

Thankfully, mindfulness offers skills to understand and act upon time-management, stress, and procrastination. But what is mindfulness? Chevening scholars were introduced to a compilation of its techniques during a workshop last week.

Chevening scholars learning about mindfulness techniques during Chevening workshop in York

Mindfulness consists of focusing on the present, and calmly accepting the duelling thoughts and emotions going through your mind. It is about contemplating the world we live in with all five senses to make the most out of your current life. Through mindfulness you’ll surely make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the UK. It helps you be both physically and mentally present when your mind might be back home or elsewhere.

1) Meditation

Meditating 10-15 minutes daily for 3-4 weeks is an amazing way to become more focused during your year abroad. You can use apps such as headspace, calm, and insight timer to meditate. During meditation you must let your worries wash over. You must see them pass by like a flowing river, without following them into it. Meditation helps clear stormy thought clouds and really see, feel, touch, taste, and hear everything that is going on around you. Just as you follow routines when you go to the gym to maintain your physical health, meditation serves as a routine to take care of your mental health.

2) Relaxation

To keep your mind healthy and destressed you must do things that relax you. It may feel counterproductive at times but dedicating some time to doing what you love, that which makes you feel alive, helps you concentrate a whole lot more on your exams and deadlines and significantly reduces your stress levels.

3) Concentration

An important tip to concentrate during lectures is not berating yourself when you feel your mind has wandered off. Meditation teaches you to reel your mind back in when you get distracted. So, if you have zoned off, refocus and imagine your professors are the most important people in the world. Concentrate on the words that they are saying to bring your body and mind back to the lecture hall.

4) Focus

To stop procrastination, you need to start changing some aspects of your life. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So even if it means moving your desk or changing your study space from your room to the university library, these little changes can help your mind refocus on the tasks in hand.

These mindfulness techniques will help you during your life as a master’s student and beyond. Being mindful won’t only help your academic life, it’s much more than that. It will help you further develop your personal outlook in life.