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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2019

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Mindfulness promotes well-being on campus


The Week of Mindfulness begins at the University of Mary Washington on Monday Sept.30. Mindfulness is defined as non-judging awareness of the present moment by UMW newsletter EagleEye. It is noted to be beneficial in recognizing and resolving habitual patterns in managing stress and improving performance, both academic and athletic.

”I think mindfulness is taking yourself and others into consideration when saying or doing something,” said Fatemeh Ahmadi, an international student from Afghanistan majoring in economics.

Depending on who you ask, the definition of mindfulness varies.

“I think everyone has their own definition of what being mindful means, but to me mindfulness is more like meditation; being able to stop and take a look at things, which is hard to do with school,” said Taylor Durning, senior linguistics major. “It’s good to get a new perspective that way, but it takes practice, which I don’t think a lot of people understand.”

The Week of Mindfulness will consist of events to help students learn and practice with one another. On Sept. 30 there is an Introduction to Mindfulness lesson to help and describe different meanings. Tuesday, Oct. 1 will include a guided meditation practice for students and Mindfulness and Personal Performance, which is a lesson on how mindfulness can affect you and your personal performance.

On Wednesday, Oct. 2 there will be a lesson on mindful eating, as well as a showing of the documentary “Once Dumb, Twice Crazy, Third Time Wise: A Tale of Buddhist Pilgrimage.” There will also be a keynote address by Hugh Byrne, a teacher of mindfulness and meditation in Washington D.C. Byrne’s speech is entitled “Mindfulness and Stress Management-The Practice and the Science.”

Thursday, Oct 3 will consist of another guided meditation, as well as a showing of the film “Lifeless.” The day will also include Mindfulness and the Brain, a lecture on how mindfulness can change your outlook on things. The last event will be T’ai Chi Practice.

“I’m personally interested, but I think it would be good to add things that would just appeal more generally,” said Durning.

Some students believe that the week is effective in theory but will only apply to those who are already interested

“I think the activities are appealing, but the students who want to go and learn more will end up being the ones that go,” said Ahmadi. “The people I have encountered aren’t rude, they’re respectful; the other international students are very mindful. The people I encounter are very mindful because of my different culture.”

Durning believes that being mindful is a benefit of attending a small university.

“In general most people are pretty good compared to those of larger universities. As a community there are good opportunities to stop and take a break, but not as many people take advantage of these opportunities as they should,” said Durning.