Wellness, Productivity, Balance for Graduate Students and Beyond

Meditation: Resources and LInks - A #MindfulPhD Roundup

Buckle up, everyone, because this roundup is big!! Meditation was a hard topic for us to handle - we each have a different practice, and more than that, it can be uncomfortable, awkward, or even impossible to put into words such an intensely internal practice. More than most topics, I'm glad to put together this roundup so that we can capture the wealth of knowledge that was shared so you can digest it what you need, when you need it. 

First things first - please check out my awesome co-hosts, Natasha (her website) (her Twitter) and Rebecca (her website) (her Twitter) - I am so lucky to be on a team with smart, thoughtful collaborators who are not afraid or ashamed to show all sides of the PhD journey. 

From the #MindfulPhD Team

I wrote a piece about how I use meditation - less as a consistent part of my routine but more as a first-aid measure when I feel the anxiety kicking up. 

Rebecca wrote an awesome piece about how mindfulness can help support stressed students - read it for your students, and then read it again for yourself! 

Natasha rounded up some really interesting research on mindfulness in workspace and university settings:

Types of Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

Many of our chatters (and all of the #MindfulPhD team!) have expressed that while we find meditation helpful, or we're curious about it, it seems hard to fit it in to our daily schedules and routines. Even the word meditation is actually a blanket term for a variety of practices, from breathing techniques to religious ceremonies. Some of the diversity was captured in our chat, and we've found even more resources to share with you here.

  • Yoga Nidra is a meditation practice that involves guided meditation through total bodily relaxation. I practice this regularly at my yoga studio, but Rebecca is also curious about practicing it at home. 
  • This roundup of yoga, breathing, and meditation techniques (illustrated by cartoonish but helpful infographics) to use at work, all clocking in at under 5 minutes! 
  • Rebecca mentioned that she has used visualization practices in her PhD planning process - and shared this useful article for how to use meditation to set and visualize goals! 
  • This body scan meditation is less than 3 minutes, and can be done sitting up or laying down, and s perfect for a pom break at your desk. 
  • Mindful breathing is one of the most universal meditation techniques, forming part of many practices from yoga to seated meditation. This less than 6 minute meditation will guide you through the process so that you can learn the techniques and practice it on your own whenever you want! 

Meditation Apps 

One of the most common things we heard was that meditation was much easier to work into the daily routine if it was accessible. Here are the most common app recommendations!

  • Headspace is very popular, and has free basic meditations available. Subscribers get access to a wide library of meditations, and the app tracks your progress, and even lets you build a community of meditators. 
  • Stop, Breathe & Think is a more robust free app, with some longer meditations available as one-time purchases. It also tracks your progress and you earn stickers for hitting milestones, which I find motivating! This is the app I use. 
  • I've been playing around with the Calm app but others rave about it. The monthly subscription is less than Headspace, and there seems to be more free meditations available as well.