Mindful Ambassadors

Who are the CAPS Mindful Ambassadors?

Mindful Ambassadors are a group of student volunteers, working in a program of the Counseling & Psych Services department of Campus Health. They receive ongoing weekly training in select mindful practices, public speaking, and group facilitation skills. Ambassadors present at various venues on campus offering brief experiential workshops. Past venues include classrooms, residences halls, sorority and fraternity houses, campus clubs and organizations, and cultural centers. At this time, all presentations are offered remotely via Zoom.  

As a program of CAPS, Mindful Ambassadors stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Mindful Ambassadors see mindfulness a tool of collective liberation. When we are awake and aware of both the internal and external conditions of our lives, we can make choices to move towards justice, equity, and freedom. Practices of contemplation and reflection support self-awareness—a vital component of knowing when and how to act. Mindfulness offers a foundation of inner work that allows us to move skillfully in our relationships and engagement with the world around us.  

“Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”
― angel Kyodo williams 

 

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the name for something that we all know about, and sometimes even do:  paying attention.  As a practice, mindfulness means something a little more.  It means paying attention in a special way:  a) consciously; b) without judgment; c) with relaxation.

Mindful exercises are based on a scientific understanding of how our minds and bodies work, and are the subjects of continuing research.  Over the last three decades and more, there have been many studies on the benefits of regular mindful practice for college students:  reduced anxiety, improved sleep, better grades, and more positive social relations

Mindfulness is a universal quality.  Learning mindful practice is not religion, hypnosis, or brainwashing.  It is not daydreaming, or "blanking your mind."  Students who do mindful exercises regularly find that their minds are clearer (not vacant), sharper (not gullible), focused (not wandering), and more focused on purpose (not spaced out).  Physically and emotionally, practitioners feel less disturbed by stress, and thus more patient with people and situations.  These qualities help with studies, personal relationships, and life satisfaction.

Why mindfulness?

The goal of higher education is to grow in knowledge and skills for a successful life. We know that stress gets in the way of optimal performance. Mindful practices are valuable tools for supporting stress-reduction and building resilience. Mindfulness can help you grow your inner strengths to be calmer, more directed and maximize your effectiveness to make the most of your opportunities at Arizona and beyond. 

Benefits of regular practice of mindful techniques such as the ones we teach, can help you let go of unnecessary tension and improve your sense of well-being, and your ability to cope with stress.  

Why mindfulness now?  

We are living in a stressful and uncertain world. This moment has shed light on ongoing systemic racism and structural oppression, the climate crisis, and political upheaval. COVID-19 has brought a whirlwind of change to our lives, and with that change comes a variety of feelings including fear, anxiety, sadness, numbness, and stress. Every day we are making choices based on ever-changing circumstances. Mindfulness offers strategies for staying grounded and connected to ourselves and each other.  

As a practice, mindfulness can help us stay in the present moment and bring about a more compassionate and appreciative outlook on our lives. In this way, we can alleviate distress and find more ease in the new circumstances in which we find ourselves.  

Mindful Ambassadors is committed to providing University of Arizona community with resources and strategies to cultivate mindful presence during these challenging times.  

Practice mindfulness now with this exercise led by a Mindful Ambassador:

 

Check out the Mindful Ambassadors YouTube channel for guided mindfulness exercises.

Mindful Ambassadors Programs

Program Offerings

We offer two types of presentation: 

1. Mindful Moments: These are 15-20-minute presentations designed to introduce participants to mindfulness through one or two brief mindfulness exercises.  The exercises are designed to help students release tension, clear their minds, and restore their energy.   

2. Mindful Workshops: These are 30-60-minute presentations, with three or four different exercises that give a broader sampling of possible mindful exercises for students to apply on their own.

To schedule a presentation for your group or organization, go to: https://goo.gl/forms/rT52sVwTVA1fryGD3

Interested in becoming a Mindful Ambassador?  Write to Melissa Keller at mfk2@arizona.edu

Comments from Workshop Participants

"Some things that I go to, I start to think, 'When will this be over?'  Not with this one!"

"I wanted it to be longer!"

"Your voices were so calming."

"I need you on CD!"

"I was thinking, 'I don't want this to be over!'"

"I came in with a little headache . . . I feel so much better now."

"I feel like I could literally laugh forever!"

Being a Mindful Ambassador

Feedback from Mindful Ambassadors on the Impact of Being a Mindful Ambassador

•      Less overwhelmed with work

•      Less exhausted; can think and process better

•      Decisions/actions are more purposeful

•      “It feels like a weight has been lifted from my body, my mind feels clear and light, and I can engage in my work more easily and enjoyably.“

•      More patient

•      More empathetic

•      More acceptance

•      Easier to take a moment before reacting 

•      Less quick to anger

•      “I breathe before I speak, which allows me to think longer on what I was about to say, and this often allows me time to either soften my words or decide not to even make certain comments.”

•      "I feel grateful every day to be a part of the program for my own self-care, and to be trained to share these practices with others.  It could not have come at a better time in my medical training!"  - TB, medical student

•      "I have gained such a sense of empowerment for my own well-being and happiness. Mindful Ambassadors has taught me how to transform many of my day-to-day experiences into a sense of long term, sustainable peace and self-worth.  This has been even more meaningful because I know I'm becoming equipped with the skills to empower others as well."- AR, undergrad 

Interested in becoming a Mindful Ambassador?  Write to Melissa Keller at mfk2@arizona.edu


Mindfulness and Recovery Resources 

*Resources listed on this page are intended to provide an overview of tools and paths to deepen mindfulness practice. They are not officially endorsed by CAPS or Mindful Ambassadors. We encourage everyone to use their own discernment in finding resources that best fit their needs. 

Mindfulness-Based Recovery Resources

5 Mindfulness Practices to Step Up Your Recovery  

Buddhist Recovery Network 

She Recovers Yoga 

Yoga of 12 Step Recovery  

Mindfulness-Based Recovery Guided Meditations 

Books 

Mindfulness and the 12 Steps: Living Recovery in the Present Moment by Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart 

One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the 12 Steps by Kevin Griffin  

Eight Step Recovery: Using the Buddha’s Teaching to Overcome Addiction by Valerie Mason-John  

Mindfulness

The University of Arizona's Mindful Ambassadors Program Facebook Page

Resources

College of Social & Behavioral Sciences CENTER FOR COMPASSION STUDIES (classes for meditation, Yoga Nidra, Cognitively Based Compassion Training)