Moving away for college brought forth a whole host of unexpected changes and challenges.
When I first wheeled that cart full of luggage into my room, the only concerns going through my head were how I would meet new people and how heavy my course load was going to be.
With all these vague worries bouncing throughout my consciousness, my attention strayed away from my mental well-being and onto external events that were beyond my control, such as being invited to social events or whether a professor had extra credit opportunities.
After weeks of being bogged down by this fog of frantic thinking, I finally took a step back and asked what could be causing all of this. The answer I found was a lack of home, more specifically a space in which I could relax and feel the comfort I felt when I was still at my house back in my hometown.
The more cognizant I was of my troubles, the more and more I noticed how badly I missed any feelings of familiarity, which I had once relied on to ground myself and stay calm, which forced me to look for a new source of homeliness.
This realization forced me to lend my attention towards my time in my room. Throughout the whole Freshman experience, I realized I had never given the time to really think about my room and appreciate its comfort, instead spending time frantically wondering about extraneous events.
Instituting a Plan/Regimen
I knew I had to make some procedural changes, so I started with something I was very familiar with, a solid mindfulness practice.
For this practice, it was really important for me to focus on appreciating my room and being mindful of the sights, sounds and other sensations provided to me by my location, as well as feelings that arose when thinking about where I was.
This practice consisted of 20 minutes of meditation, done daily at around 11:00 am, as well as consistent mindfulness checks throughout the day, which I implemented by setting up reminders on my phone.
I found that this mindfulness was immensely helpful in turning my room into the safe space I really needed to unwind and escape, while also letting me keep my emotions under control.
Other Ways to Apply This Process
There is already a great blurb in the New York Times (which is linked below) about how moving is a great time to practice mindfulness, but the applications extend beyond a change in residence.
Although mindfulness is great for establishing a sense of place and belonging in a certain location, it can also supplement experiences in areas that are meant to be temporary. Some common examples of these areas are anywhere you would consider hiking or taking a nature walk, a particularly cozy cafe, or even a particular part of your neighborhood you pass through often. These are all great places to soak in and appreciate sights and sounds you hadn’t really noticed or thought of before.
Extending this practice has really helped me appreciate where I am and how I can best enjoy being there, which is a great skill to have, especially for a young person expecting to move around quite a bit.
Thank you for reading.