There’s no reason to mince words: college can be stressful.
Between projects and papers and finals and finances, the entirety of the experience can seem rather overwhelming.
At the University of Iowa, a campus group is looking to help students – as well as faculty and staff – deal with the stresses of college life through mindful approaches.
Mindfulness is a broad term for a family of processes that are meant to bring the practitioner’s full attention to their current state of being. This level of self-awareness can be attained through meditation, yoga, exercise or any number of usually contemplative activities. The goal is, through this reflection on one’s current condition, for the practitioner to reach a higher level of knowledge about their being and how to mitigate stress, relieve anxiety, deal with pain and cope with depression.
Iowa’s organization, Mindful@Iowa, can be linked to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ Mindfulness Programs, which aims to reduce stresses among patients, caregivers and medical professionals. The Mindfulness Programs’ coordinator, Kerri Eness-Potter, serves as the faculty advisor for Mindful@Iowa and is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education teaching a course on the subject.
“Our bodies are constantly telling us things, but most people are just pushing through the day, and unless something is throbbing or screaming at them — they ignore it,” Eness-Potter said, speaking with The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA.) “Mindfulness is about being in the present.”
One of the stated goals of Mindful@Iowa is to aid those interested in properly pursuing mindfulness. While it may seem simple enough on its face, the practice can take guidance to master. Weekly meetings and events put on by the group foster awareness of news in the field and allow likeminded individuals to discuss their experiences.
For more information about Mindful@Iowa and for links about getting started on the path of mindfulness, visit the group’s website.