Mindfulness and stress reduction classes held weekly by DCU’s Counselling and Personal Development Service are helping students put their thoughts and anxieties into perspective.
As a response to the worries and pressures experienced by many students at the university, Head of Service Helena Ahern decided to run the six-week course, which began on October 30th and finishes today, December 4th.
Considerable interest has been shown in the course, with around 120 people, mostly students, attending each weekly session.
Ahern describes mindfulness as a “non-threatening” yet “effective practice” to reduce stress. The practice involves paying purposeful attention to thoughts, feelings and body sensations.
By doing this, one can become more aware of their thought patterns and less caught up in them. As a result, those who practice the technique are enabled to observe an entire situation objectively and make a better decision on how to react.
One of the issues focused upon during the course was learning how to respond to stress rather than react to it. The meditation technique used to achieve this involves emptying your mind of all thoughts before allowing them to slowly pass through your mind like clouds.
Many of those in attendance said the exercise made them realise that thoughts running through their minds were just thoughts and should not be over-rated.
On mindfulness meditation, Ahern described how it “gives you an opportunity to really develop your own sense of awareness”.
A handbook and CD containing the main theories and practices of mindfulness are available from the Student Advice Centre at a cost of €5 each.
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