1. Mindfulness of the Breath

Mindfulness is awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, in a non-judgmental way

– Jon Kabat-Zinn (Founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center)
Paying attention = Giving your full, undivided attention. What we pay attention to has power over us, because what we pay attention to becomes the stimulus to our response. Most situations are not black and white; thus, we have the choice of paying attention to the positive or negative aspects of a given situation, even difficult ones (e.g., looking for the silver linings).

On purpose = Mindfulness is a conscious, deliberate and intentional practice, as opposed to being in auto-pilot (e.g., compulsive, automatic thoughts that often arise subconsciously).

Present moment = the present moment is the only moment in time in which we have true freedom and the ability to effect change in our lives. The past is a memory and the future is a fantasy. We can’t physically travel back or forward in time, but mentally we can, and sometimes we mentally get stuck in the past (e.g., ruminating, regret) or the future (e.g., worrying).

Non-judgmental = Mindfulness incorporates the attitude that all experiences are valid, including the good or bad, pleasant or painful, etc…. Everything belongs and has its place. On the other hand, judgment can lead to clinging too tightly when we judge something to be good, or resistance and avoidance when we judge something to be bad. Most people, objects, or situations are not inherently good or bad; they become so because of our judgments.
One-Moment Meditation
Provides an introduction to mindful meditation, including the process of being aware of wandering thoughts and redirecting your attention back to the present focus, as well as proper meditation posture.
Mindful Walking
A practice that reinforces the habit of staying grounded by focusing on the sensations of walking (e.g., how the ground feels on the bottom of your feet).

S.T.O.P.—Stop, Take a Breath, Observe, Proceed — for Stress Reduction

Taking a short break to tune in to the body and mind allows us to wind down from stress, but also get curious about our triggers. This is a practice that can disrupt automatic thought patterns (i.e., auto-pilot) that are unhelpful.


About this site

This microsite is presented by Counseling and Mental Health Services in USC Student Health, Keck Medicine of USC. Content is curated by clinicians Yong Park and Naomi Bock, of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Keck School of Medicine of USC. 

Wishing all our students and community stay healthy and well, and resilient during COVID-19.

USC students are encouraged to learn more about counseling services and view current appointments and workshop schedules.

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