STARTING, WELLBEING

Mindfulness based strengths practice (MBSP) and university life

How you can use MBSP to work toward the best version of you:

What is Mindfulness Based Strengths Practice? 

To understand MBSP you must first have a basic understanding of both mindfulness and character strengths. Professor Mark Williams, the former Director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness is knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. 

In the early 2000s, scientists discovered that there are 24 character strengths that can be found in each and every person. However, the extent to which we use each strength is different for everyone and this forms your character profile. The number of character strength profiles is exponentially greater than the number of people on the planet which means your strengths really do make you unique! If you would like to find out your character profile you can do this here: https://www.viacharacter.org/ 

MBSP is all about using mindfulness to assess and adapt the way that you use your character strengths so that you can function at your best every day. 

When and how can I use MBSP?

MBSP varies so widely that no matter what situation you find yourself in there will always be a way that you can make better use of your character strengths to improve your mindfulness. Naturally, we have strengths that we use more and strengths that we use less. To achieve your full potential, you need to find the “golden mean” of your strengths. This means regularly thinking about the situation you are in and making sure that you are using each of your strengths in the right amount. 

An easy way to do this is to think about a time at which you feel like you were at your best and used your strengths well. Try identifying which strengths you used the most and which you used the least. The ones you used the most are quite likely to be your top strengths. This highlights the importance of MBSP so that you can evaluate the use of your strengths, determine your lesser-used ones and then bring them to the forefront in practice to proactively work towards your “golden mean”. 

When preparing for the transition into university life there are many situations that some people find overwhelming or stressful such as interviews, offer holder days or making UCAS choices. Sometimes in these situations it is best to take a fresh look at the challenges. Below is an audio recording of a fresh look meditation kindly provided by Rebecca Park from the university’s School of Psychology. 

 

MBSP is therefore not only useful for those starting university but for current students too, as there are a plethora of exercises suitable for any situation. If you would like to discover more about MBSP, Character Strengths and more ways of practicing MBSP, I would encourage you to read Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing”, written by Ryan Niemic – the creator of MBSP. 

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Meet the author

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Owen Liggins

Hi, I'm currently doing a foundation year as part of my BSc (Hons) Chemistry with integrated Science Foundation Year course. I am passionate about science , LGBTQ+ rights and swimming too.

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