Mindfulness practices help students relax

Carrera Powell, Health Editor

From papers and tests, to the social stress of every day life, it can be hard for college students to find time to relax, meditate and calm their minds and bodies.

With this in mind, Dr. Jennifer Consilio, director of the Writing Center and English department professor, and Dr. Sheila Kennedy, director of the English writing program, are bringing mindfulness practices to Lewis University.

“Dr. Sheila Kennedy and I, who are mindfulness-trained regular practitioners, wanted to offer a guided mindfulness practice to students, faculty and staff to experience relaxation, awareness and clarity,” said Consilio. Mindfulness is a meditation-like practice designed to keep one grounded both in and aware of the present moment.

It can be a useful tool for not only escaping the pressures of daily life for a few minutes, but also for learning healthy communication behaviors, which can help to make daily life easier.

According to Consilio, the benefits of mindfulness include “better focus and concentration, decreased stress and anxiety, increased self-awareness, skillful response to difficult emotions and increased empathy,” adding that when we learn what it means to truly experience what is happening in the present moment, we are able to feel the physical changes in our bodies when emotions arise.Beginning practicing mindfulness can seem like a daunting task.

However, mindfulness is practiced one step at a time, and can teach valuable lessons. Consilio encourages anyone who is interested to give it a shot. “I understand that if you have never tried it before, you might not know what to expect – but I encourage anyone to try it and see if you can learn and potentially benefit from it,” Consilio said.

Students can start with just a few minutes of being quiet, focusing on breath, which will then allow one to notice their breath moving throughout the body and to spend a few minutes being quiet.

“You may just find that letting yourself be still was exactly what you were looking for,” said Consillo.

Mindfulness practice with Kennedy and Consilio meets at 12 p.m. every Wednesday in the Big Red Room, located in the Student Union.

Cerrera Powell
Rae Powell is a junior english major with a minor in film studies. This is her first year as Flyer health editor. She dyed her hair purple to raise awareness for Lupus.

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