Kent State of Wellness offers free, virtual Meditation Across Campus sessions for students looking to engage in meditation practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meetings are held either on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, depending on the different facilitators’ preference. Participants will receive a link to the session once they sign up for it. 

“Meditation, mindfulness and guided imagery have shown to be helpful in reducing stress and enhancing positive feelings when practiced regularly,” said Melissa Celko, Kent State of Wellness director. 

Meditation Across Campus was launched by Kent State of Wellness, a university-level initiative through the Division of Student Affairs, in October 2018 to help provide students, faculty and staff an opportunity to learn and practice meditation, Celko said. 

“[It] is an opportunity to be in the moment, reducing worries and anxieties, allowing us to be fully present,” Celko said. “When we are in the moment we can experience a sense of peace and calm that can be helpful during this difficult time.” 

Celko said meditation also benefits the brain by reducing rumination and improving memory capacity.

Nicole Bitskay, senior human development and family studies major, has found meditation beneficial for staying positive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Day to day we can get stuck thinking about how hard everything is,” Bitskay said. “When I take the time to sit and meditate, it’s my way of telling myself to pause and think positively.”

Bitskay started practicing meditation in college and making it a part of her everyday routine helps her feel more energized, she said. 

“It gets easier to concentrate on the meditation when you practice it consistently, and incorporate it into your life each day,” Bitskay said.  

These practices not only help one’s mental health but assist in physical health as well. 

“The studies that meditation improves sleep are strong; improved sleep is a very important aspect of our health and well-being and a compelling link for our overall resilience,” Celko said. “Better sleep means a better functioning immune system.”

According to Psychology Today, meditation leads to reduced stress levels, and reduced stressed levels can lead to a stronger immune system.

Meditation sessions began Sept. 7, and students, faculty and staff can sign up for a session time on the program’s website. 

Kent State of Wellness also offers Koru Mindfulness and Meditation Training, which is a deeper dive into building a mindfulness meditation practice, Celko said. 

Bitskay said she recommends meditation practices for other college students, as it can help them let go of the stress and anxiety they may feel. 

Megan Medfisch covers health and fitness. Contact her at mmedfisc@kent.edu.

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