A NORTH East organisation, which teaches people to manage stress and anxiety, has warned of the pressures facing Freshers.
As first year students prepare for their first term at university and college, Consett-based social enterprise Living Mindfully, which has led the UK in its work with young people, has called for awareness of the challenges they face.
Living Mindfully is one of the UK’s leading organisations in delivering mindfulness programmes; mindfulness has been recommended by NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence), to help treat depression.
Living Mindfully is the only organisation in the country to be commissioned to take GP referrals throughout a whole county and its team works closely with Public Health, County Durham, and Public Health, Darlington, teaching mindfulness in schools and to students at Durham University.
Now, it is calling on higher education institutions to help students start their academic studies in the best way possible, by offering practical tools and advice to facilitate helpful ways of living and studying immediately and for the future.
“We know, from experience that going to college or ‘uni,’ can be great fun, but also can feel quite overwhelming,” said Living Mindfully project leader Jill Cox.
“Students are faced with so many new and challenging situations; being away from home, meeting new people, finding their way around new environments, adapting to new teaching styles and getting to grips with the standards and expectations can all be very stressful.
“Add to that the pressure of managing work schedules, social options and domestic chores – often without having parental shoulders to lean on – and it is no wonder some students find it hard to cope.
“Mindfulness techniques can be a wonderful introduction to students at the start of their college life. They give them life skills that can support and benefit them not only through their studies but also into their working and social lives beyond.”
Mindfulness encourages people to focus their attention on the present moment, to gain insight into the workings of their minds and to find space and kindness to be able to respond in a helpful and considered manner rather than to dwell on the past or worry about the future.
By helping people to be fully present in the moment, mindfulness has been shown to aid concentration, help them prioritise their workloads and find a correct balance between work and play.
“Developing tools to help take personal control and manage one’s life can build self-confidence. Nurturing self-compassion and to believe in oneself, socially and academically, can alleviate enormous amounts of pressure,” said Jill.
“While universities and colleges understandably put an emphasis on academic achievement, many are now seeing the importance of offering guidance in social and emotional wellbeing – and this is crucial.”
For more information about Living Mindfully, its courses and referral requirements, call 01207 693909 or visit its website at www.livingmindfully.co.uk.