Conscious Classwork: DVC and Wisdom Labs Work to Bring Mindfulness Sessions to Students


Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Meredith Slater, Staff

Leaves are changing, the holiday season is around the corner, and there are still six weeks left in the fall semester. Midterms, finals, research papers, projects, simply attending class… it’s a lot of work! With so many opportunities for students to get distracted, maintaining focus is key for completing courses. And though you won’t see a paycheck at the end of the semester, taking your studies as seriously as a job or business can make a world of difference.

Enter mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a practical tool that creates a foundation of presence in the moment – helping you focus on where you are, right now, in each and every moment, to create more active daily awareness. Eric Moss, an instructor of Business Management at Diablo Valley College and the creator of DVC’s weekly mindfulness series, said about the practice:

“We will perform our best when we are able to bring our whole selves forward in whatever we choose to do, and in order to get to that point we need both a healthy body as well as a healthy mind.”

Readers may remember Moss from last April’s Inquirer article written by Jenny Orme. When he was initially asked to teach Business Ethics, Moss reflected that “on the surface, it seems like a bit of an oxymoron.” He said he had researched various methodical approaches to “assess, address and then take action” on ethical dilemmas, and “it was challenging to apply them to a business context.”

Seeking to create a “holistic approach” and an “ethical framework for business,” Moss later discovered conscious capitalism and connected with a local Bay Area chapter of the international conscious capitalism movement. Then, at a local seminar, he met the CEO of Wisdom Labs, Cory Smith.

Smith spoke about the “interrelationship between mindfulness and business,” Moss said. “The function of Wisdom Labs is to bring neuroscience-based mindfulness training as well as practices into a business environment.”

Expanding his own definition of “business environment” to include collegiate and higher level learning, Moss saw an opportunity to bring the practice of mindfulness to his Business Ethics students and the greater DVC Community.

“For students, as well as faculty – everybody involved in our DVC Community – if they are approaching their education seriously, this is a place of business,” Moss said in a recent interview. “There is professional behavior that is expected, there are all of the phenomena that you would have in [the workplace], not to mention stress and anxiety.”

Schoolwork is work, and like the professional workplace, it can foster similar stress and anxiety levels. While mindfulness techniques like those offered on the Wisdom Labs app were developed as part of the growing movement toward conscious business ethics and practices, they can also be applied to the business of one’s education.

In a trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), researchers Jennifer N. Baumgartnerof UC San Diego and Tamera R. Schneider of Baruch College in New York reported that “MBSR was protective against depleted academic persistence, whereas academic persistence decreased in the control groups,” and that “GPA improved in the MBSR group, but not controls.”

Incorporating the practice of mindfulness can improve students’ work ethic and grades. Even further, it can help with the retention of knowledge after the semester comes to a close. Ball State University scientists Adam and Niloufar Lueke studied the effects of mindfulness on verbal learning and memory and reported that “mindfulness improves verbal learning and memory through the enhancement of the [brain’s] encoding process.”

So, are you ready for a challenge that may improve your daily focus on your studies, your job, and your life? DVC students and faculty now have free access to Wisdom Labs’ Wise@Work app, and this month Wisdom Labs is holding a Mental Fitness Challenge. DVC is one of 60 organizations from all over the world that are participating. Join for free and challenge yourself to one week of practicing mindfulness.

The challenge ends Oct. 31, but your access to the Wise@Work app will remain free and fully accessible as a tool. Use it to reduce stress and improve focus and presence in your daily life. Simply download the app, use your student or employee address (ending in or to create an account and then check your email to confirm registration.

Additionally, free online mindfulness sessions for DVC students, faculty and staff are held every Friday at noon. To join the DVC Mindfulness Community, sign up here.