Inspired By Learning

Mindfulness for study from procrastination to action

By Karisa Krcmar and Tina Horsman
Mindfulness for study
About This Book

'Mindfulness for Study: From Procrastination to Action' is for anyone involved or interested in Further or Higher Education. The authors, Karisa Krčmár and Tina Horsman, are experienced University educators and mindfulness practitioners and teachers. As part of their work and research with students they developed a programme of mindfulness workshops. After very successfully running these workshops for 3 years, they have turned their work into a book to support all students study effectively.

'Mindfulness for Study' includes:

  • a detailed introduction to mindfulness
  • study techniques and the development of multi-sensory learning skills
  • specialist chapters on 'reading for successful study', 'effective writing for academic purposes' and 'revision and exam strategies'
  • structured mindfulness practices
  • this dedicated web-site including guided mindfulness practices and downloadable documents.
Where to buy

'Mindfulness for Study' is available as an eBook (PDF) or a paperback directly from the publisher 'Inspired Learning'. Their website is at www.inspiredbylearning.eu For more information see the website or email sales@inspiredbylearning.eu

Mindfulness For Study Book
Authors
Karisa Krcmar Karisa Krcmar

Karisa Krcmar is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and leads a team of specialist tutors at Loughborough University. She has a varied background: from an MBA and PhD to the shipping industry and management team of Northern Ballet Theatre.

Whilst working with adults, she couldn't understand why clearly intelligent people struggled with literacy and numeracy; she researched into the area of dyslexia and subsequently completed a PGCE; diploma in adult dyslexia/diagnosis; certificates in ADHD and mental health; and an MEd (dyslexia).

Karisma is a qualified mindfulness practitioner (British Psychological Society) and designed and co-delivers the Mindfulness for Study programme at the university specifically for students with SpLDs. She works with her institution’s Centre for Academic Practice to share good practice in teaching.

Karisa is founder and editor of The Journal of Neurodiversity in Higher Education (ADSHE).

Karisa particular research topics have focused on the brain's executive functioning and the benefits of mindfulness practice – writing for different journals and presenting workshops on both of these at a variety of international conferences.

Karisa is married with one daughter.

Tina Horsman Tina Horsman

Tina Horsman is a Specialist Tutor for Students with Specific Learning Differences at Loughborough University. She provides specialist one-to-one study support for students with a range of neurodiversities including dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD.

Tina is a Fellow of the Dyslexia Guild; Fellow of Higher Education Academy; has AMBDA status (Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association); holds a current Assessment Practising Certificate for Specific Learning Difficulties and operates a private assessment practice.

Tina is a qualified mindfulness practitioner (British Psychological Society) and co-delivers the Mindfulness for Study programme within the university. She sits on the editorial team of The Journal of Neurodiversity in Higher Education (ADSHE).

Tina has delivered and developed courses for Dyslexia Action and worked for many years as a Dyslexia Specialist for a land-based further education college.

Her research interests include the benefits of mindfulness practice and how mental health affects learning - presenting workshops on both of these at previous conferences of the Association of Dyslexia Specialists in Higher Education and the 2016 British Dyslexia Association International Conference.

Tina is married with 2 daughters.

Stop Off Points - Audio Files To Listen To Or To Download Mindfulness Practices linked to the 'Mindfulness for Study' book
Introduction to Stop Off Points

Stop Off Points are when we invite you to pause and explore a mindfulness practice.

Stop Off Point 1 Mindfulness of the 5 Senses

This exercise will talk you through mindfully using your 5 senses.

Stop Off Point 2 Anchors of Mindfulness Breath

In this exercise you will learn to focus on each breath as you inhale and exhale.

Stop Off Point 3 Anchors of Mindfulness Sound

In this exercise you will pay attention, first to sounds outside the room you are in; then to sounds inside the room and finally to the sounds inside your body.

Stop Off Point 4 Anchors of Mindfulness Body

In this exercise you will systematically scan your body as you bring your awareness to the sensations in and around your limbs.

Stop Off Point 5 Mindful Walking

In this exercise you will become mindfully aware of sensations, sounds and sights as you walk.

Stop Off Point 6 Mindful Movement

In this exercise you will encounter a variety of mindful movements that will suit your environment or physical needs.

Stop Off Point 7 Mindful Posture

In this exercise you will mindfully attend to how you stand or sit.

Stop Off Point 8 Mindful Thinking

In this exercise you will be invited to examine each thought as it comes into your head – and then let it go

Stop Off Point 9 Mindful Emotions

In this exercise you will mindfully explore your emotions using the acronym PEAR Switch off any possible distractions and make sure you are sitting comfortably and supported but in an upright position, with good posture.

Stop Off Point 10 Going Into an Exam

This exercise will help you prepare yourself to be calm and attentive as you go to, and start, your exam. You can use the techniques if you start to feel panic rising during an exam.

Stop Off Point 11 Mindful Reading

In this mindfulness exercise you will help prepare yourself for bringing your full attention to your reading and note making.

Stop Off Point 12 Mindful Writing

In this exercise you will practise noticing your thoughts and letting them go; you will bring attention to your excuses and let them go and you will learn to notice your fears and let them go.

Executive Function Audit See pages 35-37 of 'Mindfulness for Study'
Impulse control:

The ability to withhold a response or action (to allow for reflection and assessment)

Emotional control:

The ability to modulate intense emotions; to calm oneself

Time management:

The ability to be realistic about how long things take; demonstrating timeliness; having a good sense of time

Executive Function Audit
Planning, prioritising & organising:

The ability to plan tasks over time, break complex tasks down and keep spaces, things or ideas organised

Task management:

The ability to initiate, persist with and complete a task; also includes the ability to shift flexibly from one task or situation to another

Executive Function Audit
Working memory:

The ability to keep verbal or nonverbal information in mind while doing a task; a kind of internal ‘clipboard’

Self-monitoring:

The ability to ‘check in’ on one’s thoughts, feelings and actions – and if needed, selfcorrect’

Executive Function Audit
Anchors of Mindfulness
Anchors of Mindfulness

For more information on the Anchors of Mindfulness, see pages 41-48 of ‘Mindfulness for Study’.

Some of our students like to have a cardboard copy of an anchor with 3 knots – one for each anchor. Some liked to fiddle with it when they practised one of the mindfulness exercises; others just stuck it up on the noticeboard to act as a reminder to follow their mindfulness routine for study. You might wish to copy, cut out and paste this anchor graphic onto card for your own use.

Download File:
Be Active in Lectures Template

The template shown shown on page 80 of ‘Mindfulness for Study’ is just one example of how you can prepare your notes or your laptop to make the most of a lecture. The template below (as a Word file and a PDF) is for downloading. Completing the preliminary information will also help you to keep your notes organised so that you can find them again when it comes to essay writing or revision time. It’s the ‘special comments’ column that will keep you active and help you when you come back to review the lecture. You can make up your own short hand – but make sure you can remember it.

Download File:

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Distraction To Action Table

We developed a ‘Distraction to Action’ table to help you identify your current behaviour and the action you need to take to take control of the pattern of the kaleidoscope - see pages 90 and 91 of Mindfulness for Study. Have a look at the table and give it a go. Be honest with yourself. Look at what you do. What is it that is really stopping you from getting down to work? You could try to mind map your thoughts when you sit down to study. Identifying the values that are important to you can help you focus.

Download File:

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Essay Planning Table

For tasks, such as writing an essay, start by pinpointing and prioritising the activities needed to successfully complete each task: organise, prioritise goals and set a timetable. So, break the task down. If you have an essay to write, this will involve reading and planning; drafting and writing; editing and checking. Although linked, these are all separate tasks. Create a table and in the top row, if it’s an essay, write the title (not just what it’s about, you need the actual title to keep focused) and make space to write in the hand-in deadline. In the first column break the task down into the activities you will need to do. Make a column for the task deadlines you are setting yourself. Estimate and then note the actual time it takes to start and complete these tasks and in the final column put the deadline date.

Download File:

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Emotional Triggers Table

Emotional reactions can happen quickly and without our full awareness. For example, it is easy to shout and be cross with someone, yourself or even at a TV new programme without realizing what has just happened – perhaps a sudden outburst as a reaction to what the reporter had just said. Emotional reactions are usually triggered by an event. At first you feel very strongly, but later the emotion will not feel as strong. Going back to our example, when telling your partner about the television report, you did not feel as cross as when you had first heard the report. The emotional reaction had tailed off.

When we reflect on the example just given, we can see that there was a trigger (the news report), that lead to a feeling (being cross). This is often accompanied by a body sensation or physical reaction such as feeling hot, trembling or crying. This then leads to associated thoughts (“that’s not right, I hate this”) and an action (shouting, running away or lashing out). The key to emotional control is mindfully recognising these stages and being able to make a choice about what actions (if any) we choose to take.

Take a moment to consider what kinds of things trigger your emotions, thoughts and actions. You might wish to download and use the Emotional Triggers Table below (Word doc. and PDF).

There is more about emotional triggers and how to respond to them in Mindfulness for Study. See pages 108 to 113.

Download File:

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Reading and Note Making Template

When you know why you are reading and what information you are wanting from the text as well as what information you can bring to it that you already have, note making becomes easier. With some mindfulness, you can avoid mindlessly just regurgitating what has been written so that you don’t end up with notes that are as long as the book or paper you are reading! Developing your framework for making notes will help to keep your mind focused and will help to develop notes that make sense and are easily accessible when you need them.

Here we share with you a framework that you can download and use, or develop to your own needs and use.

There is a lot of information and support on Mindful Reading (including note taking) in Chapter 8 of ‘Mindfulness for Study’ (pages 125-135).

Download File:

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