In March, Student Life paired with Counselor Nancy Hamm to take students through a meditation on both the Andover and El Dorado campuses. The Andover event took place Tuesday, March 22 at 12 p.m. in the Grizzly Den and the El Dorado event took place the following week, Tuesday, March 29 at 12 p.m. in the Student Union.
The event lasted for 30 minutes and included pizza for those who attended. No meditation experience was needed to participate as Nancy Hamm led the group through different meditation exercises intended to help students relax.
“The purpose was to offer some practice in meditation and breathing to give others a tool to use for stress management,” Hamm said. “I wanted students to practice the skill so that they realize they have the power to help regulate their stress response.”
Hamm led the group in the first technique, a color meditation. Each participant was handed a sheet with different colors and was told to pick one without reading the description. Each color promotes different things and is good for various aspects in our life. After each participant had a color in mind, Hamm directed the group to close their eyes and imagine their color in the form of mist that was surrounding them. Using colors can help influence our emotions and ability to cope. Some ways to utilize colors is by wearing it, drinking or eating it, visualizing or meditating with it and surrounding yourself with color.
After the meditation students mentioned that they enjoyed imagining their individual color, but if they picked a unique color, they had a hard time imagining what it would look like.
Hamm led the group in the final technique, a sunshine method. The participants closed their eyes and imagined themselves somewhere they would be happy in nature. Hamm talked the group through different ways to feel the sunshine on their body. Students mentioned they had a hard time feeling the sunshine physically, but overall the experience was relaxing and enjoyable.
“Personally I have never meditated,” sophomore Ally Davis said. “I usually like to take deep breaths followed by a nap before I carry on. Although I do not usually meditate, I found this session enjoyable and relaxing.”
Hamm finds meditating for mental health purposes important and often practices herself. She will offer more meditation sessions or other ways to cope with stress in the future.
“I hope to offer more of these to reinforce the idea that self-care is something we should do, not just something that is optional,” Hamm said.