Mindfulness Meet-up provides relaxing techniques

Ariell Reed, Reporter

On Sept. 11, the first Mindfulness Meet-Up session introduced  newcomers to the seminar’s concept. Attendees brainstormed mindfulness applications, topics of interest and future exercises.

Director of Counseling Services Rosamond S.H. Myers explained that mindfulness is a technique which encourages a heightened sense of awareness of the present moment.

“[Whereas] oftentimes we are thinking about past events, [saying] ‘I wish I would’ve said this’ or ‘I wish I would’ve done that,’ or we’re thinking ahead to the future [saying], ‘Okay, this afternoon I gotta do this and that,’ mindfulness is actually living in the present moment and experiencing it as fully as possible, [which] includes bringing in the different senses,” said Myers.

Over four meetings throughout the semester, attendees will learn various mindfulness skills and techniques directed toward improving their lives. Myers still encourages students to attend future sessions, even if they missed the first one.

“It can be stressful, especially around midterms and finals, so anything that can help with anxiety is great, and mindfulness absolutely can help,” Myers said. “There are mindfulness relaxation exercises that I think help even more, [for example], guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation.”

Myers said mindfulness is both a technique and a skill that improves the more you practice.

“It’s very easy, it doesn’t take a lot of effort, but … because we’re so used of speeding through the day [it can also be very hard] to actually stop and slow down, focus, and let all of that other stuff go,” continued Myers.

This meditation technique can be practiced anywhere. “Home is a great place for mindfulness … or any place a person is comfortable [and] where they won’t be interrupted,” Myers said. Some common mindfulness practices are five-minute silences, breathing meditation, active meditation and walking meditation.

Myers explains that mindfulness is not new and has recently experienced a surge of popularity. “More and more people are hearing about it and developing an interest in applying it to their own lives,” she said. A couple years ago, Anderson Cooper featured a mindfulness expert on “60 Minutes.”

The monthly Mindfulness Meet-Ups are held in room 212 of the University Center. The next three sessions will meet on Oct. 16, Nov. 13 and Dec. 4 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.

The sessions are open to anyone on campus at no charge. “It’s sort of hidden away a little bit because it makes it a little bit quieter,” Myers said. “[In] some of the other rooms, you hear a lot of traffic in the hallway.”

The classes are considered a Privateer Plunge event. Freshmen who attend can receive credits for their UNIV class.

“It’s a great opportunity to learn about a technique that can be helpful. I mean, decreasing stress, who doesn’t want that? You have nothing to lose, except maybe fifty minutes of your day by learning something new that’s healthy and [is] a stress-reduction technique,” said Myers.

She also shared that those seeking similar programs “might be able to get some sort of relatable benefits from taking yoga at the Recreational Center.”