Mellow out with meditation

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By  Morgan Brizee

Learn to de-stress with the One Breath meditation group class

HSU staff psychologist with a residential life focus, facilitating the One Breath meditation with students. Photo by Morgan Brizee

A long light grey table split the Recreation and Wellness Center room in half. Students and a staff member were on one side and the facilitator on the other during the One Breath meditation group class on Feb. 1.

Every Wednesday at 5 p.m., Craig Beeson teaches those who want to learn to destress and wind down. The group is run by Counseling And Psychological Services and is open to the HSU community including students, staff and faculty.

Beeson is a staff psychologist with a residential life focus and does workshops like One Breath in the resident halls on HSU campus.

“I noticed when this [One Breath Meditation workshop] was on my mind, preparing for it, I was getting stressed about it,” Beeson said. “This is counterproductive, I’m getting really stressed about a mindfulness presentation.”

With a new semester starting up again, and most students being far from home, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.

Karen Zurdta, a 23-year-old English grad student, talked about how coming to this class has taught her to love herself more.

“I was going through a tough time with school last semester and I got really sad and emotional,” Zurdta said. “I was having problems showing myself love and that I am worthy of good things.”

Beeson is using the book, “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion” by Christopher Gerner, to teach the class about not fighting the feelings you have but instead accepting them. The class goes over how to cope with issues from anxiety to insomnia that many students can relate to.

Matt Cunningham, a 25-year-old senior English major, has been meditating for five years and even went to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in Ukiah, Calif. last spring to help with his practice of mindfulness.

“It’s kind of taught me to think of my thoughts and feelings as senses and to react to them like I would to any other sort of negative stimuli,” Cunningham said. “Mindfulness has helped me address those things more directly in a lot of ways.”

The class begins with a group discussion of feelings and how to address them in a positive way. After about 30 minutes, Besson directs the group to close their eyes and focus on their individual breathing. He then moves on to telling the group to focus on one body part at a time, relaxing each body part individually, until the group feels their body and mind is calm. Beeson ends class by checking in with each member of the group on how they feel afterwards.

“We talk about things like how to connect to yourself and live a more present, relaxed life,” Beeson said.

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