University offers a new alternative to stress

Clayton Gutzmore/Contributing writer

FIU is now offering students and staff Mindfulness Mediation, a one hour session that allows students and staff to focus on the present moment.

“Oftentimes we are thinking of the past or the future and when we are constantly doing this we place judgement,” said Jose Miranda, clinician and a member of the Office of Employee Assistance. “When we focus on the present moment, there is no judgment – just facts.”

The program was started in 2010 by Kate Kominars, director of the OEA, and other members of the department. According to Miranda, the idea for these sessions came from a workshop hosted by Lindsey Hart, a psychologist who uses mindfulness-based stress reduction in her practices.

In one of these sessions, students are placed in a quiet atmosphere while audio instructions and peaceful melodies are played to assist students to reach that mental state by focusing on the present moment.

“Mindfulness is a process of focusing attention on the here and now,” said Kominars. “It’s about intentionally focusing on a single thought and being able to notice the loss of focus so it can be regained,” said Kominar.

Mindfulness Meditation is available to students and faculty members every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. On Tuesdays, the sessions take place at the Biscayne Bay campus in room 246B of Academic II, and the Wednesday sessions are at the Modesto Maidique Campus in the Graham Center, room 314. With no set instructor, participants have the freedom to bring yoga mats and their own peaceful melodies to share with others.

The OEA department encourages students to take advantage of this health opportunity.

“There is always a need to find good relaxation techniques,” said Miranda who elaborates on how great amounts of stress can come from anything. For example, incoming freshmen become stressed transitioning to FIU and students become stressed juggling work and school.

The average amount of participants that are in the sessions ranges from seven to eight. Mindfulness Meditation has been promoted at health and wellness fairs at school with emails sent via University mail.

“Everyone who continues to come speaks very highly of Mindfulness Meditation. One of the real problems that we have is people taking the time out to come,” said Kominar.

FIU is offering Mindfulness Meditation as another asset for students and staff to maintain a good balance of health. “I think there are lots of different ways that people can improve how they cope with stress, and mindfulness is only one of them but for the people whom it really works, it works well,” said Kominar.

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