By Madeline Ragland, Contributing Writer
The room is quiet, contrasting with the outside world of the Memorial Union Building. All the noise and chaos of the world seems to disappear as students file in and fill the seats that are situated in a circle. They are preparing themselves to enjoy “being in the moment,” rather than thinking about class and homework.
Every Monday, in MUB Room 334, students at the University of New Hampshire sit together in silence and let the noises of college life disappear. Health Services provided a service for students that educates them about the world of meditation. Different Health Service counselors lead sessions in order to expose students to different ways of meditation.
According to the Health Services website on meditation, “Meditation is a skill you can learn to manage stress, get a better night’s rest, succeed academically, and achieve overall health and wellness.”
“Meditation is a tool,” said Kathleen Grace-Bishop, director of education and promotion at Health Services. She has been meditating since high school and wants to share ways for “self-care” so that all students can lead a happy and healthy life.
An article called “Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress,” by the Mayo Clinic staff, said that benefits to meditation include: gaining a new perspective on stressful situations, building skills to manage stress, increasing self-awareness and focusing on the present. Others included managing symptoms for conditions such as asthma, cancer, depression, heart disease and more.
“Meditation is an experience of relaxing the body, quieting the mind, and awakening the spirit,” according to the Health Services webpage. “Meditation encourages a deepening of consciousness or awareness, and also facilitates a deeper understanding of self and others.”
Health Services has been providing these meditation sessions since the ’90s.
The practice goes much further back though. According to an article in Psychology Today, “In the Indus Valley, archaeologists discovered evidence of meditation in wall art dating from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE.”
With deep roots in history, this club was started by Health Services in order to educate students in different ways to self-cure.
Kathleen Grace-Bishop, one of the counselors who leads the sessions, dubbed meditation a way to self-cure.
She used the term to describe ways for students to help their bodies without using medicine or going to the doctors, essentially that self-cure is free medicine.
The meditation sessions last for 30 minutes. Each session is open to any student wishing to participate.
Health Services provides a group-led session every Monday, but individual sessions can be requested online.
More information and guided meditations can be found on the Health Services web page.
Graduate student Tricia Peone said that this club and meditation overall has made a difference in her life by “being able to calm my mind.” She has attended the club for one year now and believes that meditating can be beneficial to all students.