By: Courtney Morrison
The Counseling and Disabilities Office (CDO) has implemented a new program to help students, faculty, and staff practice good mental health.
Meditation classes are now being offered every Tuesday from 12:30pm to 1:30pm and Wednesdays from 5:00-6:00pm, in the faculty lounge 1208, of the Mardigian Library . The Counseling office sees students and staff with a variety of stressors from academic to personal. They decided that meditation was the best option to help combat these common issues.
“Just like physical activity and eating is essential to good health, meditating is too,” said Debra Hutton, the director of the CDO. “ Meditating is like going to the gym only for your brain.”
Meditation is essentially a state of thoughtless awareness. The goal of meditation is to promote focus on the present moment rather than worry about what is going to happen in the future or what has happened in the past. Breathing awareness and mantras are an essential part of mediation. There will be several types of meditation taught depending on what that particular instructor’s specialty is.
For the first 10 to 15 minutes of each class, the instructor will go over how to meditate for beginners. Regulars or people with more experience meditating are welcome to attend this session or can come in after the instruction is over.
Practicing meditation has a variety of proven benefits. Individuals with chronic pain and anxiety have seen a significant reduction in their pain and anxiety, over a substantial amount of time, when practicing meditation. This exercise also benefits those with eating disorders, substance abuse, and promotes goal-directed behavior.
Hutton stressed that these meditation classes are not targeted toward a specific group of people. They are open to the entire UM-Dearborn community.
The classes are run on a “drop-in and drop-out basis.” There is no sign up or commitment to the classes. Scheduling will change each semester based on the meditation teachers’ schedules and the demand from the UM-Dearborn community.
While some religions do practice meditation for spiritual reasons, it is important to note that the meditation program being offered is nondenominational and strictly for mental health reasons.
Meditation is offered on other college campuses and Hutton hopes that the program will catch on as quickly at UM-Dearborn as it did on other campuses. She says meditation has become “much more mainstream” and thinks it will soon become apart of society’s everyday lives. Everyone involved in the program has high hopes for the program to ease the UM-Dearborn community’s stress.