Small action, big impact

Students at Furtwangen University are also trained in mindfulness in Health programmes

"Mindfulness becomes effective in action, so I incorporate a lot of practical formal and informal exercises," says Professor Dr. Thilo Oliver Kromer of Furtwangen University as he rolls out yoga mats in an exercise room. Kromer offers an "elective course" at Furtwangen University (HFU), which deals with a particularly sensitive topic. The course "Mindfulness in Rehabilitation, Prevention and Health Promotion" is open to all students of the Faculty of Health, Safety, Society. It offers students a practical framework for dealing with the topic. Among other things, students will learn about ways to face the challenges of everyday life and studying with a mindful attitude. This also prepares them for the new requirements in the healthcare professions.

This semester, Professor Kromer is guiding twelve students in their practical exercises. The aim is for the participants to transfer what they have learned into their everyday lives and share their experiences in an open and non-judgemental environment. The students have made themselves comfortable in a semi-circle around Professor Kromer. Today they are talking about their own ecological footprint. They have calculated this as a "homework assignment" and have been given recommendations on how to further improve their own environmental behavior. The group has a lively discussion about which suggestions can be implemented in practice and which ones raise objections. As a student, can and should you ask your landlord to install more environmentally friendly heating? Should you only go on vacation within Germany? The group discusses the equation of vacationing in Germany with being closed to the world. "It's important to address the issue. It shouldn't be about justifications, but about bringing change to the world," says Professor Kromer. One of the aims of the course is for students to become aware of their own patterns and motives through the exercises and that their actions have an impact on a small and large scale. "This should help them to better reflect on their actions, better understand their connection to their environment and support them in becoming responsible healthcare professionals," says Kromer. "Only those who are open to themselves and actively establish a compassionate attitude are able to open up to others and help them." Mindfulness contributes to personal development.

The students find the elective course exciting. Whether they are sharpening their awareness by chewing a raisin, tracing the origins of meditation or discussing what actually makes a "good time" beautiful - the unusual course content is extremely popular. For this reason, Professor Kromer would like to open up his course to students from other departments across Furtwangen University.