Mindfulness Meditation helps students find their zen

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Mindfulness Meditation is Lehigh’s newest on-campus organization, and is here to help deal with stress through meditation.

Mindfulness Meditation held its first meeting this past week and welcomed a range of people including graduate students, staff and undergraduates. Danielle Stillman, an associate Champlain on campus, took initiative to start this new group.

A seasoned pro, she has been practicing mindful meditation for 20 years and believes it this new group can provide a space on campus for people to quiet their minds. The group is in its beginning phases as it has only had one meeting. Stillman, however, has big hopes for the group.

According to Stillman, meditation is about learning to be more present in the moment, as well as to better understand of ones self. These tools can help students, professors, or anyone dealing with stress. While the group takes mediation very seriously, anyone, regardless of how little experience they have, can participate. The type of meditation done in this group is simple and is guided by an instructor. The main focus is breathing and tuning into the body. Following the sitting period, there is also an opportunity for discussion. By sharing their experiences it can relax those participating and let them reflect on what might be stressing them out.

In a study published by USA Today, 55 percent of teens reported feeling a 10 out of 10 in stress during their most recent school year. These statistics are not surprising given the extreme pressure that is put on students to perform at high levels, both in high school, college and graduate school.

Samantha Statfeld, ’17, said she began meditating when she was in high school because of the rigorous work and stress she was feeling.

“It gives you a break from everything you’re doing and lets you clear your mind,” Statfeld said. “Then, you can approach a stressful situation with a much better place of mind.”

Statfeld is considering joining mindfulness meditation here on campus, but has only meditated on her own in the past. While she thinks meditation has helped her, she said meditating on your own, versus in a group, is personal preference.

Mindfulness meditation is not the first group that has attempted to combat stress on campus. Jamel Mutunga, a previous Lehigh student, started a meditation group a few years ago that certainly benefited those who were stressed. While Mutunga’s group was student-run, Mindfulness Meditation is not. While students did not create the group there are still opportunities to be in leadership positions and students are certainly encouraged to attend. Stillman says just because the organization wasn’t created by students, doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t be open to student involvement or student leadership.

“I think it would be really beneficial, especially now that there is an actual group people can go to,” Angelika Kligos, ’17, said in regards to possibly using meditation to de-stress.

While unfortunately only one undergraduate attended the first meeting of the group, Stillman hopes for better turnout during the next meeting.

“The group has the potential to let students and staff and faculty practice a way to bring more calm into their lives and relationships, which makes life better for everybody,” Stillman said.

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