Students who feel the grind of the semester are always looking for ways to relieve stress, calm nerves and help their minds relax. Meditation can improve grades, sleep patterns and mental cognition.
Meditation is the process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. The practice is used to manifest many things like developing a positive outlook, decreasing anxiety and improving concentration.
Melissa Celko, the director of wellness in the Division of Student Affairs, started teaching meditation to high-risk doctors at the Cleveland Clinic as a way for them to get away from the madness for a minute.
“It is a way for people to feel less anxious, sleep better, lift depression and improves overall well being,” Celko said. “Out of the 365 days of the year, I meditate about 300 of them. When I don’t take those couple of minutes to do it, I feel like I can’t sit still; I am irritable and feel anxious all day.”
Meditation Across Campus is a half-semester course that teaches Koru, the fundamentals of meditation. The 30-minute guided course allows students to drop in and meditate during the days. The class focuses on breathwork, a process used to calm your mind. Kent State focuses on the practice of Koru because it does not incorporate any type of religion and science-backed research proves its effectiveness.
“Koru is open and accepting. It's an effective way of meditating that does not focus on the outcome, but on your breathing, which allows the mind to quiet,” Celko said. “When you pay attention to the sensation of breath, you can block out other thoughts and slow down your mind. Repeating a psalm, or positive words, can also help you rest deeply.”
One of the biggest misconceptions of meditation is you have to sit still in silence and completely clear your mind. Rylie Woods, a higher education graduate student and meditation instructor, does not see meditation this way.
“Most people who first start meditating feel like they are not doing it right because they can’t get their thoughts to completely disappear,” Woods said. “This is not the case. Just sitting with your mind in silence and your eyes closed can make you feel more calm and grounded. It’s not about blocking everything out, it’s about taking time out of your day to catch your breath and relax the mind.”
Many people have a difficult time sitting still for a long period of time without fidgeting. Woods advises to try different forms of meditation throughout the day.
“Walking or eating can be great time for meditation,” Woods said. “You can do these things by focusing on the moment and movement in silence without disruption.”
Meditation Across Campus is held Monday through Friday on the first floor of the library, Henderson, Rockwell and Lowry Hall. The course has no cost, no grade and no commitment to attend. You can drop in at any of the locations whenever you are feeling anxious and need quiet time.
Incorporating meditation into a busy schedule does not have to mean carving out time to do it. It can be done during everyday activities such as in the shower, while you are cooking or while you walk to class. According to MindWorks.com, the health benefits of meditating can include reducing stress and anxiety levels, and it can improve focus and sleep patterns.
Contact Sarah Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org.