Reflection Center: mental health through spiritual wellness

Spiritual wellness is a important part of mental wellness, and can be aided by meditation, prayer, mindfulness and other practices. UVU's Reflection Center provides a space for these activities. Graphic by Gabriel Toscano.

A study published in Sociology of Religion found that those who pray and meditate are less likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression. At Utah Valley University, spiritual wellness is supported by the Reflection Center. Its mission stands in supporting the many expressions of individual world-views.

The SR study found that “these prayer styles have unique associations with specific aspects of well-being, including life satisfaction, happiness, negative affect, and existential well-being.”

Published in 2014, it stands by many peer-review articles in the journal Sociology of Religion that show positive mental health benefits of maintaining spiritual wellness in one’s life.

Spiritual wellness is defined by Northwestern University as “expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life, including one’s morals and ethics,” and affects people from both religious and non-religious backgrounds.

UVU’s Reflection Center is a place where students from all walks of life can come to find spiritual connection and understanding to support spiritual wellness in their lives.

“I see spiritual wellness as being able to have that connection between people,” said Brian Walker, Reflection Center guide and senior at UVU, who identifies as an Atheist. “The reflection center offers [students] opportunities to find understanding in each other’s beliefs.”

Located in the Student Life and Wellness Center, the Reflection Center offers students places for prayer and meditation. It also hosts meetings of the Interfaith Student Council, along with other religious organizations on campus.

“The Interfaith Student Council supports and facilitates activities for students from a variety of faith traditions and ethical perspectives,” states the IFSC handbook. “The council is comprised of select students from across campus with the aim of collaboration and campus leadership on projects related to interreligious education, understanding, and cooperation.”

The Reflection Center also provides opportunities for students to socialize and maintain mindfulness with their weekly mindfulness workshops. Mindfulness is defined by Psychology Today as “[the] state of active, open attention to the present.” These mindfulness workshops aim to help students observe themselves and their emotions.

“We want students to find a space to express their religious or ethical identity.” The Reflection Center website encourages students to, “… be challenged by hearing about other identities, and be equipped to find ways to be in relationships no matter how we orient around religion.”

Religious or not, each individual has a worldview and the Reflection Center welcomes everyone and seeks to support spiritual wellness. An article by the National Alliance on Mental Health states that being spiritual can help people understand their interpretation of “the meaning of life.”

Learn more about the Reflection Center by visiting their website. To learn how to become a part of the Interfaith Student Council, use this forum.

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