College can be a stressful time, especially these days. You are in a new environment, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and learning new things at a rapid pace. Many of you may be pursuing lofty career goals, working towards graduate level programs, or even the first in your family to attend college. You may feel there is a lot of pressure on you. That’s why we have compiled some handy ways to practice mindfulness during your time at Mary Washington.
First of all, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. This allows you to focus on the task at hand, and provides relief from being overwhelmed. What are some ways you can develop this skill at Mary Wash? I’m glad you asked.
1. Take Meditation and Contemplative Practices, a Classics, Philosophy and Religion 3-credit course.
This course offers a practical, experiential and theoretical introduction to mindfulness meditation and contemplation. Students learn and practice meditation techniques daily while exploring the contemplative practices and theories of diverse cultural traditions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, such as philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. I took this class as an undergraduate at Mary Wash, and it was one of my favorites.
2. Take advantage of Campus Recs Yoga Classes
Yoga is a great way to unwind, move, and relieve stress. For only $10 a YEAR, you gain access to all of the group fitness classes offered through the gym. That’s right, $10 a YEAR! Our Yoga classes are relaxing, and allows students to work on strength and flexibility through a series of poses. These classes are being offered virtually through Campus Recreation this semester, so you can even participate without leaving your residence hall. There are varying classes for different skill levels, come give it a try!
3. Meditate in the Meditation Space
The Meditation Space, located in the second floor of the University Center, was designed to provide a supportive and spiritually nourishing environment for students from all backgrounds and cultures to pray, reflect, and relax. This a quiet space dedicated to individual self-knowledge and renewal will enhance the campus experience for many students. It’s a comfy place to get a moment of silence in your busy day, and check in with yourself.
4. Relax in the Mary Wash Zen Garden
Located between Mason Hall and Farmer Hall, this space is complete with stones, greenery, and places to sit and think. As Professor Hirshberg, Associate Professor of Religion said best, “The space provides a chance to slow down, shrug off negativity and reflect,” Hirshberg said, “even for those who aren’t well-versed on contemplative practice.” The space is constantly changing with the seasons, so visit throughout the year to see what new greens have popped up.
5. Enjoy some sun with friends on Ball Circle
There is nothing better than laying on a picnic blanket with friends after a particularly rough day of classes. Take a breather from homework to lay out, people watch, and take in the gorgeous view.