meditation and university
student health
by Maria Molfino
Last update: 01/09/14

MARIAMOLFINO.COM
hello, nice to meet you!
•

Stanford-trained
behavior designer:
more on my website

•
•

personal growth coach

•

researc...
meditation is good for you
•

research shows
meditation can increase
well-being, decrease
stress, and boost
immune functio...
selling points for students
✓ stress less/manage your energy to increase
productivity and efficiency.

✓ meditation is the ...
biggest challenge
students have trouble sustaining a personal meditation
practice on their own, after they’ve learned it i...
preparing for drop-off
what most meditation teachers and students don’t know
is that while students learn meditation, they...
preparing for drop-off
•

I know this because I have taught about 200 students
meditation at Stanford, and over time, as s...
preparing for drop-off
during a focus group discussion with alumni who were
giving advice to recent graduates of the cours...
how to prepare for drop-off
what most people don’t know is that the best way to
counteract drop off is by teaching student...
how to prepare for drop-off
I know this because I have worked closely with six of my
students this past quarter and have a...
space matters
how to prepare for drop-off

•

during a course, students are given a comfortable and
safe space to practice...
space matters
how to prepare for drop-off

•

students with roommates are too shy to meditate with
their roommates around,...
community matters
how to prepare for drop-off

•

identify communities of practice which are practical
such as meditation ...
other habits matter
how to prepare for drop-off

•
•

identify students’ routine habits during the course

•

I worked clo...
other habits matter
how to prepare for drop-off

•

Lina tested doing the practice right after she made her
bed, but she f...
to conclude
during a meditation course, teach students 2 things in
parallel:
1. how to meditate AND
2. how to keep meditat...
Want to keep up a breathing
meditation practice? Take my
free online course

MARIAMOLFINO.COM
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How to Get Students to Keep Meditating

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How to Get Students to Keep Meditating

  1. meditation and university student health by Maria Molfino Last update: 01/09/14 MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  2. hello, nice to meet you! • Stanford-trained behavior designer: more on my website • • personal growth coach • research background in behavior science and neuroscience certified yoga and breathing instructor MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  3. meditation is good for you • research shows meditation can increase well-being, decrease stress, and boost immune function (Davidson et al., 2003). • meditation can actually enlarge part of the brain associated with self and others (insular cortex, Lazar et al., 2005) MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  4. selling points for students ✓ stress less/manage your energy to increase productivity and efficiency. ✓ meditation is the new napping: recharge your battery in 20 minutes. ✓ be relaxed + focused, instead of relaxed + lazy OR stressed + focused. MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  5. biggest challenge students have trouble sustaining a personal meditation practice on their own, after they’ve learned it in a course WHY? • • motivation is fickle (motivation waves, BJ Fogg) they haven’t learned how to fit the practice into their busy, hectic, irregular student schedules MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  6. preparing for drop-off what most meditation teachers and students don’t know is that while students learn meditation, they must also learn ways to counteract natural drop-off in practice. time MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  7. preparing for drop-off • I know this because I have taught about 200 students meditation at Stanford, and over time, as schedules get busy, my students experience significant drop-off in their practice over time. • I surveyed 16 of these students formally, 10 reported they no longer practiced or practiced inconsistently after taking a course. And these were some of my most motivated students. ouch: 10/16 dropped off! MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  8. preparing for drop-off during a focus group discussion with alumni who were giving advice to recent graduates of the course, all expressed regret that they hadn’t sustained the practice, but no one had a clear idea how to do so. man, I wish I had kept going... MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  9. how to prepare for drop-off what most people don’t know is that the best way to counteract drop off is by teaching students to design the meditation habit to fit into their own student driven life ? MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  10. how to prepare for drop-off I know this because I have worked closely with six of my students this past quarter and have actively prepared them for drop-off by teaching them that especially for students: ✓ space matters ✓ community matters ✓ other habits matter MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  11. space matters how to prepare for drop-off • during a course, students are given a comfortable and safe space to practice • do not assume students have an appropriate space to practice on their own! • work with students during the course to identify a space they can practice on their own. MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  12. space matters how to prepare for drop-off • students with roommates are too shy to meditate with their roommates around, students are often not fully aware of the extent to which this is turning them off from their practice. • anecdote: I noticed two freshmen in my course weren’t practicing on their own. It boiled down to roommates! I had them each name an alternative *nearby* space option in their dorm, such as a common lounge/room they could *easily* access. I had them test out the alternative spaces. MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  13. community matters how to prepare for drop-off • identify communities of practice which are practical such as meditation buddies who live in student’s dorm. • regular follow-up sessions where students see the same fellow students; ex: Sunday meditation sessions on campus. • teacher, coach, mentor figure who creates accountability; ex: credit course, weekly practice (nonclass) time with coach/mentor. MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  14. other habits matter how to prepare for drop-off • • identify students’ routine habits during the course • I worked closely with one of my students, Lina, to identify her most stable daily habits: (1) she makes her bed after waking up, and (2) she puts on her pajamas before going to bed. important: student schedules are irregular; they have irregular sleeping and eating patterns. Most of their stable habits cluster at the beginning and end of the day. MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  15. other habits matter how to prepare for drop-off • Lina tested doing the practice right after she made her bed, but she felt too rushed in the mornings. Since the practice takes 20 minutes, it didn’t work. • Lina tried to do the practice right after she put on her pajamas at night, and this worked far better. Now, this is what she does. • I gave Lina a framework (based on BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits) to test her own practice in her life during the course. MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  16. to conclude during a meditation course, teach students 2 things in parallel: 1. how to meditate AND 2. how to keep meditating on their own from the beginning ✓ ✓ ✓ teach space matters community matters other habits matter MARIAMOLFINO.COM
  17. Want to keep up a breathing meditation practice? Take my free online course MARIAMOLFINO.COM

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