Kent State of Wellness Introduces Meditation Across Campus to Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety, depression, stress, family issues, academic performance and relationship problems – in that order – were the major issues facing college students who seek counseling, according to a 2016 report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health.
Studies have shown that meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate depression, improve cognition and reduce distractions. Kent State University researchers also have found meditation to be helpful in reducing high blood pressure.
Melissa Celko, director of Kent State of Wellness, a university-level initiative to promote health and wellness, knows firsthand the benefits of meditation. She has practiced meditation for about 25 years and is trained in teaching Koru mindfulness, specifically designed for young adults, with a focus on mindfulness, meditation and stress management. Ms. Celko is leading efforts to introduce meditation sessions to the Kent Campus community.
Meditation Across Campus is a new initiative that allows Kent State students, faculty and staff to join their colleagues in free, facilitated meditation sessions around the Kent Campus. Meditation Across Campus sessions begin the week of Sept. 24 on the Kent Campus and will continue until the start of winter break. Kent State faculty, staff and students will help to facilitate the meditation sessions, which will run for 30 minutes, with some exceptions.
“I have experienced the benefits of meditation, and I know that a college campus such as Kent State can benefit from it as well,” Ms. Celko says. “Often times, our students, faculty and staff are so stressed out from trying to juggle schoolwork and manage other responsibilities, and meditation can help relieve stress and anxiety. Meditation allows us to have a little more space between things outside us and what is happening inside us: space to make a better decision, space to watch the emotion it brings up, space to bring perspective and compassion to every aspect of our lives.”
Cathy DuBois, Ph.D., associate dean for graduate and online programs in Kent State’s College of Business Administration, approached Ms. Celko with a request for her to facilitate meditation sessions in the College of Business Administration.
“I was fortunate to learn Transcendental Meditation as an undergraduate student, and it has fueled my personal well-being throughout my adult life,” Dr. DuBois says. “As such, I’m especially supportive of offering meditation sessions in our college. These sessions are part of our College of Business Administration’s Responsible Leadership Initiative, and they highlight the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being. Learning self-management skills is an essential aspect of preparing students to live a life of purpose and creating personal and professional success.”
Luda Leontieva, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, says she is excited to facilitate meditation sessions for the College of Business Administration this fall.
“I am looking forward to observing my students start to pay more attention to the present moment and unlock their full potential with an attitude of curiosity and compassion,” Dr. Leontieva says.
Liz Baker, also a meditation session facilitator and graduate student in Kent State’s Department of Psychological Sciences, understands how wide-reaching the benefits of mindfulness are.
“When I consistently practice meditation, I'm better able to handle whatever life throws at me,” Ms. Baker says. “I can be calm when something goes wrong at work, I can be focused when I'm at home training my energetic puppy, or I can sit down and focus on my research even when there is a lot of hustle and bustle around me.
“In addition to knowing how mindfulness helps me to be healthier from my own firsthand experience, I also know about the numerous research studies that show its beneficial effects,” she adds. “By leading meditation sessions, I'm able to live a healthier life myself, and importantly, I have the potential to help others reap the benefits as well. If we can all learn to be more mindful, we can live healthier (and happier) lives.”
Ms. Celko says that her goal is to make meditation a habit for members of the university community.
“If our students learn to embrace meditation as a way to deal with stress and other issues, it can impact their success here on campus and even after they graduate,” she says. “If you’ve never participated in a meditation session, I encourage you to attend one of our Meditation Across Campus sessions, and bring along a friend or colleague.”
Kent State of Wellness is seeking experienced meditators to help facilitate Meditation Across Campus sessions. If you have questions or you would like to facilitate a session in your department or at another Kent Campus location, email Ms. Celko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, including locations, dates and times for the Kent Campus meditation sessions, and additional resources, visit www.kent.edu/stateofwellness/meditation.