Cultivating a Path to Mindfulness & Well-Being in Education

When: Friday, Nov. 10, 2:00 - 3:30pm

Where: Citizen B & C - Third Floor

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This special session aims to discuss mindful practices to increase student well-being in the classroom. Our panelists include marketing researchers and educators who have published research to further the theoretical understanding of mindfulness or applied related techniques to educate and enhance the well-being of students. Our interactive session format will engage attendees to better understand and adopt mindful approaches as an applied tool for marketing education.

Session Co-chairs:

Ellen Campos Sousa, Gardner-Webb University

Steven S. Chan, Thomas Jefferson Universitiy (Visiting)


Amy Watson, Valdosta State University

Ann Mirabito, Baylor University

Sphurti Sewak, Illinois State University

The issue 

Every university is facing an elevated concern about student mental health, especially after students have returned to the classroom post-pandemic. During the 2020–2021 school year, more than 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem and 44% reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety (Lipson et al., 2022). Universities have provided support for students through different initiatives typically promoted by the school’s health center. However, that hasn’t been enough. As educators, marketing professors can enhance the mental well-being of their students by incorporating mindfulness approaches and tools in the classroom.

Mental health issues have been identified as an ongoing and escalating issue among college students over the last decade (Wyatt et al. 2017). When students transition from high school to college, many of them struggle with academic underperformance and mental health problems (Dekker et al. 2020). In addition, they feel the stress of a highly competitive academic environment, while also over using many digital technologies. These are part of the evolving digital world obstructing their ability to be present in their everyday life, which decreases well-being through increased levels of stress and anxiety. While students suffer from these mental health matters, many are not receiving help: 75% of students dealing with depression and anxiety are reluctant to seek help, and 67% of people 18-24 with anxiety or depression don't seek treatment (ActiveMinds, 2022). The stigma for seeking help needs to be reduced to encourage students to feel supported to speak up and receive help (Schueth, 2022). With college students experiencing more mental health issues post-pandemic, faculty have an opportunity to promote mental health by integrating it into the classroom curriculum (Harris et al. 2022). 

Mindfulness as a remedy towards greater well-being

Research has demonstrated mindfulness as an effective remedy to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve happiness and well-being (Brown, Ryan, and Creswell, 2007; Khoury et al., 2015; Querstret, Cropley, and Fife-Schaw, 2018). Mindfulness involves the ongoing practice of paying attention, with acceptance, to internal stimuli (bodily sensations, emotions, and thoughts) and external stimuli to gain insight towards making choices that enhance well-being (Bahl et al. 2016). Prior research conducted with college students has illustrated the positive effects of mindfulness in their lives. As an example, a study conducted with 86 undergraduate and postgraduate students, showed that a mindfulness-based intervention (8-week instructor-led) improved their well-being and mental health (self-reported distress), and orientation and motivation towards academic goals (Medlicott et al., 2021). Other literature highlighted that mindfulness-based interventions improved psychological well-being and study engagement in 205 first year undergraduate medical students (Kakoschke et al., 2021). Furthermore, mindfulness can positively affect perceived performance by reducing depression, anxiety, and stress (Tingaz et al., 2022). 

In this special session panel, we aim to foster discussion for implementing mindful activities in marketing education to improve student well-being. Our panelists will share how they have incorporated mindful practices into their classroom to help enhance student well-being. Examples of such classroom practices include the following: