According to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, 85 percent of students felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do at some point within the past year, and 30 percent of students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance within the past year. One way to cope with the almost perpetual stress of college is to meditate.
Meditating has been used for centuries to deepen one’s understanding of self and emotions. Meditation allows one to enter deep relaxation and enhance their emotional side. It has been proven to lower blood pressure, slow down brain aging, increase alertness, provide pain relief, reduce ADHD and reduce stress.
Meditation can reduce stress by clearing the mind of thoughts that have been building up throughout the day. By creating space in the mind and identifying what is important, one increases his or her mental resources. This practice allows participants to develop the skills necessary to manage stress. This is done by focusing on the present, reducing negative emotions, increasing imagination and creativity and increasing self-awareness.
Looking for a place on campus to begin this practice?
Join the Meditation Club at UMBC! The club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 – 2 p.m. in the Commons. They also meet on Fridays from 12 – 1 p.m. in the University Center. The general meeting consists of moving meditation and 15-minute intervals. The Meditation Club officially became a club in spring 2016. It was started as a way to allow people a place to meditate together.
The current president is senior Alyssa Lambert who is an information system major. Lambert feels that meditation is beneficial to the college student.
“Meditation helps you get away from it all for a moment and relax and puts you in an environment that is dedicated to you focusing your mind. It’s a lot easier to do in a group because that means you can commit to the practice,” she said.
When club members were asked why they prefer the group they responded that it “is relaxing and easier to do with others.” Meditation Club plans to have a retreat sometime in November and December.
The mindfulness retreat this November will focus on being “mindful, and appreciative.” There will be various meditations such as sitting, moving and walking. The retreat will also have Rev Nam, from the Won Buddhism temple, lead in some activities. While November’s retreat theme will be Thanksgiving, December’s retreat will be focused on “togetherness.”
There are also other places on campus to continue this practice such as the Mind Spa, located in the Counseling Center. The Mind Spa offers a space to meditate. They also offer instructions on how to use the various mindfulness tools they house, including biofeedback, aromatherapy and light therapy.