MSUM Wellness Center Promotes Positive Mental Health with Meditation Breaks

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By: Kate Almquist, kate.almquist@go.mnstate.edu

The MSUM Wellness Center has started a new virtual meditation program that’s dedicated to give students a mental break amidst their busy minds and lives.

The 10-minute guided meditations occur every weekday at 1:30 p.m. via Zoom, and all students are welcome to join. The sessions are guided by Sam Rios, assistant director of wellness, who plays programs from meditation apps that focus on a variety of relevant topics such as stress reduction, anxiety and overall mindfulness.

“We felt like mental health was on the front of everyone’s mind and mindfulness is an easy and accessible way to tend to one’s mental wellbeing,” Rios said, “It felt like a good time to launch a program like this.”

The goal of these breaks is to give students a chance to step away from their homework or take a breather from their packed class schedules, and just sit still for a moment.

“I hope that students learn to hold space for themselves in their day,” Rios said, “Hopefully, it’s a skill they can take with them for life and will help them handle anything they may encounter in the future.”

Rios and the Wellness Center staff decided it would be beneficial to hold the meditation breaks daily so that students could create a comfortable, safe space where they can process any emotions they may have.

“We want to show students that the program is always here for them when they need it,” Rios said, “I hope they feel a sense of community when they participate.”

The Wellness Center has always encouraged students to take care of one’s mental health, but the pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of it which ultimately inspired the launch of this program.

“We intend to have this program last beyond the pandemic, even when the uncertainty and stress of this time passes,” Rios said, “We want to keep encouraging students to expand their knowledge of mental health and take time for themselves.”

If anyone is interested in a more traditional meditation class, the Wellness Center  offers the Mindfulness Meditation Class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. These 30-minute classes will also be held on Zoom, but are taught live by Ronda Peterson, assistant athletic trainer at MSUM.Both of these virtual meditation classes are scheduled to continue through the end of the semester. The Zoom links and passcodes for the meditations can be found on Dragon Central or on the Wellness Center’s Instagram page, @msumrecwell.

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