Mindfully Making Our Way in the World: The Exploration of Mindfulness Among Post-Secondary Students
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Abstract Students across North America are facing new challenges due to the competitive economic climate, increased debt from student loans, and infinite access to technology. The practice of mindfulness shows great promise as an intervention to aid young people to cope with the daily challenges of student life. The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to explore mindfulness among post-secondary students. The major research question guiding this inquiry was What is the meaning of mindfulness among post-secondary students? The design of the study followed a narrative methodology. Data consisted of interview transcripts and journal entries. Six participants were interviewed in the first round and three were selected for a second storytelling interview. Data were analyzed using qualitative thematic techniques and followed narrative principles of re-storying. The central finding of the study is that mindfulness is experiential and comprised of three core elements: the practice, the journey and the impact. Analysis highlighted a) the journey is extremely unique, includes some kind of pivotal moment, and is transformative in nature on the individual’s life, b) the practice can be divided into two types of mindfulness: “state mindfulness” or “situational mindfulness” and, c) mindfulness has a positive impact on mental health, perspective, and happiness. Findings suggest post-secondary students who adopt a mindfulness practice find purpose and meaning in their lives and have positive mental health. Building on this study, future research should continue to collect rich qualitative data on the lived experience of students in order to empower them and give meaning to their experience. This research can be used to inform the development of curriculum and programing and community health interventions.