Book Review: The Mindful College Student

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  See the Recommended Reading section of our Resources page for more suggestions.

Eric Loucks’ book The Mindful College Student: How to Succeed, Boost Well-Being and Build the Life You Want at University and Beyond is an invitation. Dr. Loucks is an expert in the field of Mindfulness, and his book includes academic understanding of the field, but largely, throughout the book, Dr. Loucks invites his reader to join in the contemplations and exercises to come closer to their thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. The work isn’t always easy, but the invitation guides the reader.

Today’s college students are experiencing more stress and anxiety than ever before. Those of us on college campuses see it daily. Students are stressed and overwhelmed and many of them don’t know how to cope with what they are feeling. This book is for them – and really for all of us.

The book covers what Dr. Loucks identifies as two major phases. The first phase helps the reader learn to listen to the wisdom of the body, heart, mind, and spirit. It includes mindfulness practices that will help students be open to what they hear. In the second phase of the book, Dr. Loucks guides the reader in applying this wisdom to not only moments of meditation, but also practical life scenarios. It is in this section that the book helps students explore insights that may help them discover more about their values, skills and interests and how they may relate to potential careers.

The Mindful College Student is also a practical guide. Two chapters refer to practical applications for career, performance, social media use, as well as social relationships, physical environment, home environment and politics.

A motivated student who is open to exploring their mind and where mindfulness can lead will find this book a wonderful guide. It is designed to take the reader through several weeks of meditation practice. Each chapter ends with “home practices” that enable a student to go further. Students can choose the elements that speak most clearly to them. This book is, in a sense, a toolkit for moving forward intentionally.

About the author:

Eric B. Loucks is a professor, researcher, speaker, and pioneer in the study of mindfulness and health. As director of the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, Loucks teaches mindfulness-based programs and leads high-quality methodologically rigorous research to investigate the science behind mindfulness and its impact on health and well-being. He is the lead developer of Mindfulness Based College (MBC) and has received numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions. Over the course of his career, he has held teaching positions at Harvard, McGill, and Brown Universities. Loucks has practiced mindfulness for about 25 years and received ordination in the Vietnamese Zen tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.

What the author has to say about the book:

“The research and the lessons in this book apply across the adult life span. However, the reason this book is geared toward young adults is that I believe this is one of the most powerful times in life to learn mindfulness. . .  I have seen countless college students and young adults for which mindfulness training changed their lives. It’s because of this, along with the fact I was lucky to receive mindfulness training as a young adult and want to give to future generations, that I have written this book for you.

We have become increasingly socially isolated and lonely, all while trying to connect in meaningful ways digitally. Does any of that resonate with you? If it does, you have found the right book. This book offers a scientifically nested solution to these growing problems.

In this book, I weave four elements throughout every chapter: science, mindfulness practices, stories from young adults who have gone through mindfulness training, and the notion of health and happiness. I also invite you to work through two major phases that will change your life.

Mindfulness, I believe, has a place in everyone’s life if it is learned in skillful ways. It’s accessible at any time, day or night, and the practical applications are endless. . .  Knowing what you want to focus on in this book and this program will make it relevant to you and allow you to get the most out of it. Also, in the future, as you have different elements to work on, you may find yourself rereading the book with that new area you want to develop in mind.

This book is designed to be about a seven to fourteen-week program, with you spending a week or two on each chapter, possibly during a school term if you are a student. You don’t have to do it this way of course. With mindfulness training, it is exactly that – training. The practices offered in the book, if done regularly, have the capacity to change your body and mind in healthy ways.

I look forward to helping you gain essential skills to boost your well-being and build the life you want. I’ve written this book with you in mind. We are in relationship during the process of you reading this book. Everything is interconnected. Consequently, how this book influences you may well influence me in some way or form one day. I hope it serves you well.”

What others have to say about the book:

“Eric’s intention for this book is clear: to provide a cohesive framework for anyone who reads it to have the skills and tools to foster a lifelong well-being for themselves and the lives they touch. Bringing together science, ancient teachings, and his own direct experience – personal and professional – Eric has written the essential “how to” guide for any young adult looking to navigate their inner and outer world as they move through life.”

Judson Brewer MD, PhD

“A perfect book for this moment. What Eric Loucks teaches is highly calibrated for young people to effectively navigate the steep climb to embodied adulthood in ways that are intrinsically healing, liberating, and sorely needed . . . anyone of any age can benefit enormously from inviting even a few of these extremely practical, wisdom-nurturing mindfulness practices into one’s life.”

                      Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and author of Meditation Is Not What You Think and                         Mindfulness for All

“It would have been so helpful to have The Mindful College Student during my college years. In this comprehensive work, Eric Loucks lays out a program of mindfulness training that touches on every aspect of our lives. He engages the reader with probing questions of self-inquiry, and offers many practical exercises for deepening our understanding. A wonderful contribution to the well-being of both college students and us all.”

Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness

“What would happen if someone offered you a tool kit and said that within it you would find a path to less suffering? The Mindful College Student is an introspective weaving of shared experiences, the science of mindfulness practices, and some words of wisdom from the Buddha. Eric Loucks describes how to find a way forward through any kind of circumstance that arises in life.”

Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change

“This book is a great resource to help students flourish during the challenging time of college. It is replete with simple, short, practical meditation exercises that can reduce distractibility, improve focus, and clarify values. And sprinkled throughout are tidbits to ground the recommendations in evidence-based science. This book is a must-read for every college student wishing to succeed in life, and will be useful for just about everyone else.”

                     Richard Davidson, coauthor of Altered Traits, and founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of                          Wisconsin-Madison

Check out The Mindful College Student: How to Succeed, Boost Well-Being, and Build the Life You Want at University and Beyond

Listen to our podcast interview with Dr. Loucks – #082 – Mindfulness for College Students: An Interview with Dr. Eric Loucks

Be sure to check out our full list of books for both you and your student. (Parents are making a big transition, too!).

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.


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