Congressman Ryan Inspires New Mindfulness Initiative at Kent State Trumbull
Kent State University at Trumbull’s Counseling Services and Psychology Club are encouraging students to follow the old adage, “stop and smell the roses.” Flashes of Mindfulness posters and mindfulness stations are popping up around campus to remind students to slow down, pay attention and be aware.
“We want to ensure that our students have all the tools they need to succeed,” says Lance Grahn, Ph.D., dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Trumbull. “One of the many benefits of our campus is accessibility to free services, such as tutoring and counseling. These posters are just reminders that students aren’t in this alone.”
Dean Grahn says that the Flashes of Mindfulness concept began a few years ago when U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan was on campus to speak at the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention’s annual summit. Rep. Ryan talked about his experiences with mindfulness, which ultimately led him to write “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit.”
“Many of our staff were in the audience and thought that encouraging mindfulness practices would be a great way for students to leave concerns at home and be mindfully present here on campus, available to learn and achieve their dreams,” Dean Grahn says.
Working, going to school and taking care of families can all be stressful. More than four in 10 freshmen say they feel overwhelmed, according to “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2016” study. In a study by the American College Health Association (2017), more than 25 percent of undergraduate students reported that anxiety has affected their academic performance.
Kent State Trumbull’s full-time mental health counselor Barb Ozimek and the student Psychology Club pulled together the initiative to reduce these statistics. Each poster offers an exercise for mindful breathing, observation, and/or awareness and promotes counseling services for students in need. Ms. Ozimek will offer mindfulness sessions for interested students.