A review of UVU mindfulness practice
Reading Time: 2 minutes Mindfulness is more than just allowing our thoughts to flow freely. It is about being conscious of our thoughts, accepting that they’re okay, and befriending ourselves in the process.
Every Thursday from 10-11 a.m., UVU’s Reflection Center (located in the Sorensen Student Center across the hall from the bowling alley) holds a mindfulness practice for students. According to its website, the free event is designed to “explore mindfulness and meditation in engaging and interactive ways.”
Curious about what mindfulness is and what its benefits could be for me as a student, I attended last week’s practice. I was both surprised and enlightened at what I discovered and took note to share my experience.
The first thing I noticed at mindfulness practice was the environment. Standing in stark contrast to the energetic ambiance of the Sorensen Student Center, an uncharacteristic calm seemed to permeate the room. Around me in a circle sat other attendees in comfortable armchairs. Some attendees had taken off their shoes and sat with relaxed content, while others seemed more pensive, sitting with legs folded in their chairs. To my left, I noticed Kerri Scott — the director of wellness programs at UVU — and other wellness program interns attending the event.
To begin, the facilitator, Dallin Bruun, a certified mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher, (substituting for Jarom Stubbs, the routine facilitator) helped the class understand what mindfulness is; Bruun asked what a true friend was and how such a friend would help others feel welcome. Responses led to the conclusion that a true friend is one who is accepting and present in the lives of others.
Next, Bruun related these insights to mindfulness. He explained that just as a good friend must be present and accepting of others, we, too, should strive to be present and accepting of our own thoughts. This is because mindfulness is not simply allowing thoughts to travel in and out of our minds. It is about being conscious of our thoughts, accepting that they’re okay and befriending ourselves in the process.
Additionally, when asked about what her definition of mindfulness was, Scott explained that it was “paying attention to the present moment (the mind, body, emotions, surroundings, etc.) without judgment.”
Having come to a better understanding of what mindfulness was, the class took several breaks to practice it. The room fell silent as we all tried to be present for our thoughts. Unfortunately for me, the process was easier said than done, but Bruun reminded me that instead of being frustrated after failing, staying focused and accepting all of my thoughts was a more healthy mindset.
When the event was over, my head felt clear, and I was more aware of my surroundings. I had begun the meeting feeling stressed, and although the stress remained afterward, I felt validated and conscious of where the emotions were coming from. In a sense, I felt heard.
According to Scott, these effects are common benefits of mindfulness. She explained that in her own life, practicing mindfulness had given her:
• “Fulfillment” as she took the time to experience the world around her
• “Clarity” as she took “a closer and more thoughtful look at situations” so that she could “act rather than react”
• “Opportunity to come to really know” herself
Overall, I enjoyed my experience at mindfulness practice. I learned valuable insights about myself, my thoughts and my emotions, and I left feeling more positive and aware than I had when I entered. If you are stressed or are struggling with emotions affecting your ability to focus or relax, I would highly recommend attending mindfulness practice in the weeks to come.