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Mindfulness center provides a space for relaxation in an otherwise stressful world

Like many other college students, relaxation isn’t a part of my daily agenda.

Between my 17 credit hours, my job, my UA position, my two exec positions and The Student, I barely even have time to sleep. However, I’ve come to realize that I’d be better off if I learned to chill every once in a while.

I recently visited the Mindfulness Center, a small room located at 128 McGuffey Hall, in search of the “zen” that has eluded me for the past 19 years. Despite my initial skepticism, I soon became enchanted with the scent of essential oils wafting through the air and found some of the peace I’d been seeking.

The Center, which opened in March 2016 and is directed by Suzanne Klatt, a professor in the department of family science and social work, is dimly lit and silent, aside from some gentle white noise coming from a speaker. There are a number of comfortable chairs are arranged in a circle. Uplifting posters decorate the walls and a small table in the center of the room offers free candy, crayons and sensory toys.

Hannah Stohry, a graduate student who has worked at the Center for three years, greeted me when I entered. She described some of its primary functions, including its weekly meditation sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and how it even provides a space for students to safely nap between classes.

“There’s really no other place on campus to go and take a nap,” Stohry said. “King used to be more comfortable, but it isn’t anymore.”

Despite my complete lack of spirituality and inexperience with meditation, I tried to make an effort to be mindful while visiting the Center. So I sat on the floor, crossed my legs, shut my eyes and tried to relax.

Though I felt a bit silly the whole time and am still unsure whether I did it right, my meditation session did provide a moment of relief from my stressful existence. 

I would, and likely will, do it again. 

Plus, they have free coffee, which is reason enough to return.

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Stohry said that, while meditation can act as a supplement to professional counseling, it is not meant to be a replacement. But, considering the recent increases in depression and anxiety among college students, any bit of relief helps.

The Mindfulness Center is located at 128 McGuffey Hall and is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m. on Thursdays.