Health Education’s Three-Part Mindfulness Series: Learning to just be

Part one of a mindfulness series features a serene time of meditation guided by Health Education in Wilson 112 on September 18, 2018. (Photo by Judah Shingleton/The Daily Campus)

The Health and Wellness Center held the first part of its three-part mindfulness series Tuesday night. The small turnout to the event allowed for an intimate, quiet space where students were taken through two sets of guided meditation.

Nishelli Ahmed from the Health and Wellness Center began the event by first sharing the purpose of meditation and mindfulness. She said meditation helps academically with memory, focus and stress management. It also helps you gain more satisfaction from your relationships by allowing you to love and accept more. This is mainly because it allows you to exist for a short time without worries or stress, and just be. Before we started the meditation, she helped us find a posture that would help us to relax without falling asleep in our chairs. She asked for flat feet, a comfortable, upright spine and relaxed shoulders and hands.

As Ahmed guided us through our first meditation, she reminded us to focus only on our breathing. She repeatedly said that if we felt our minds drifting off to other thoughts then we should acknowledge those thoughts and dismiss them. She told us to be entirely in the present, not focusing on what happened earlier that day or what we still had to do. The result was 20 minutes of absolute calm and tranquility. She rang a singing bowl to signify that we had to return to our bodies, and then checked in on us and how the meditation made us feel.

Our second meditation focused less on the breathing and more on our own bodies. Ahmed called it a body scan. As we meditated, she asked us to relax different parts of our bodies. She told us to acknowledge any pain we had and dismiss it. As the meditation went on, our bodies felt less strained and more relaxed. Again, the singing bowl was rung and Ahmed checked in on how we felt.

“[I] definitely [gained a] further awareness and knowledge of meditation, and that there’s more than just sitting in a room and thinking about nothing,” Troy Czerwinski, a fifth-semester psychology major, said.

The experience was very calming. Ahmed spoke over a whisper the entire time and was always there if we were having trouble with any part of the meditation. When we opened our eyes, it was like waking up after refreshing sleep, our minds clear of everything that had troubled us before coming in.

“I learned about being in the moment and trying to reduce stress while taking stressful classes,” Mark Capel, a seventh-semester applied math major, said.

Some students came for reasons besides dealing with stress, like Czerwinski.

“I was actually not going to come, but I wanted to know what this whole thing was about, and I also wanted to take part in the whole health and wellness… they have a website,” Czerwinski said. “If you go to a certain amount of events, like a certain amount of one time and other time events, you get gift cards. So I wanted to do that and overall know what this class is.”

The second part of the mindfulness series will be held next Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 6 p.m. It part will focus more on moving around and being mindful, rather than just meditation. As the semester starts picking up, it might be a good idea to take this time for yourself and just be.


Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rebecca.maher@uconn.edu.