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Mindfulness tips, when meditation doesn’t work…

The word ‘mindfulness’ is thrown around a bunch. It can feel overused and cliché. Another bandwagon.

But studies have shown that mindfulness practices can have a real impact on lowering stress and anxiety levels.

You’ve probably tried to meditate before. Maybe you loved it, maybe you fell asleep. Sometimes it can be difficult to ignore the panic of the assignment due tomorrow. Traditional meditation just might not work for you.

Mindfulness really just means being fully present in the moment. Being mindful of the sensations you experience while doing something. Mindful of what’s going on inside your head and inside your body.

So what can you do instead of meditation?

 Eating a meal or having a cuppa

Try eating your breakfast, lunch or dinner with no distractions. Maybe even just drink a cup of coffee or tea. Get off your phone, turn off the TV, leave that assignment for just a while.

Make yourself comfy. Take the time to enjoy how your food looks, smells and tastes. Take each bite slowly to savour the flavours (eating slowly also has massive health benefits!). Feel the heat of the drink through the mug, feel the steam on your face. Appreciating the little things like a good cuppa can really help put things into perspective.

female slowly drinking tea


Take a walk. To the end of your street, maybe around the block. If you’re really keen, maybe go a little further. If you want to go further, we have some beautiful areas close by UNE, Dumaresq Dam, the Blue Hole, Dorrigo National Park, Coffs Harbour Jetty.

Leave the headphones at home. As you’re walking, feel the sensation of your feet hitting the ground. Listen to the sounds of passing cars, birds, the wind in the trees. Notice the smells around you, feel your breath in your nostrils.

Maybe meet with a friend to go for a walk. Socialisation, especially a catch-up with a good friend, can do wonders for your state of mind. Plus, you won’t even notice how much walking you’re doing.

Added bonus, physical activity increases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good.

boy walking along the jetty


Take a bath or shower

Make bathing an experience. We all have to clean ourselves fairly regularly, but every once in awhile, try to soak in the bliss of bathing. Run that bath or turn on that shower and allow a solid chunk of time for relaxation. Make sure all your favourite products are nearby and ready to use.

Don’t be tempted to rush. Feel the warmth of the water on your skin and watch the steam rising. Get out that loofah and soak in the sensations of a good scrub. Let your mind wander over whatever it fancies. You might just discover it slowing down.

Mindfulness is a great way to take a moment here and there for yourself, to tune into yourself and allow your brain to regenerate.

If your mental health is causing issues for your study, consider booking a session with the UNE Student Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS). They are fully qualified and registered psychologists, offering on-campus appointments and phone/video chat sessions for online students. The service is confidential and free for UNE students.

You can contact them Monday- Friday, 9am-4pm, on (02) 6773 2897.

If there have been difficult events in your personal life or if your mental health is causing problems for your study, Advocacy & Welfare can help you request assignment extensions, special extensions of time, or apply for a remission of fees.

Contact us at or (02) 6773 3116.

You’re never alone at UNE.