As students prepare to leave high school and transition from adolescence to early adulthood, they face many challenges. The current study seeks to support students’ use of mindfulness practices as one method for navigating discomfort during this period of change, specifically during the transition to college. Early adulthood is optimal for introducing mindfulness practice given a shift in brain development that slowly increases the capacity for self-control and the need for tools to deal with ongoing stressors. Mindfulness programs for college students have shown promising results, but only impact students’ well-being when the skills are regularly practiced. We propose a way to help motivate students to practice using personal health trackers, akin to smartwatches. These devices allow students to track their stress over periods of time and provide real-time vibrations to let them know when the health tracker detects abnormally increased stress based on their heart rate variability. Self-tracking and real-time feedback have been shown to help individuals positively change their behaviors. Taken together, personal health trackers demonstrate promise for helping early adults practice mindfulness skills during a period of transition and stand to improve early adults’ overall well-being.

Marisa DeCollibus

The Pennsylvania State University