Students de-stress using meditation


Analicia Haynes

Photo Illustration

Mallory Kutnick, Staff Reporter

As the semester marches toward the looming horizon that is finals week, stress begins to rear its ugly head. Its appearance marks the coming of a period of reading, writing and an exorbitant amount of coffee.

But a small group of students have found an effective method of stress relief in an activity often misunderstood and overlooked: meditation.

Every Monday at 6:15 p.m., despite what the Eastern website may say, the EIU Sufi Meditation Club meets in the living room of a tiny house on the northern side of Lincoln Ave. in Charleston. Roughly a dozen people settle on pillows and cushions within a chartreuse colored room.

This is a strategic move, as color psychology has linked certain shades of green with tranquility and harmony. The club meditates for little more than five minutes, then chats and enjoys snacks for well over an hour.

Some may picture these individuals sitting cross-legged in dream-like, surreal trances, but, contrary to popular belief and stigma, their minds are very much grounded in reality.

“It’s hard to describe,” Alex Hill, a senior English major and club president, said of what occurs during meditation.

“You can imagine your consciousness to be such as a body of water,” 2014 alumnus Joshua Harden said. “There’s ripples in it of thoughts, but then there’s waves of emotion and hecticness in your life, and meditation is to take that water and cause it to become still, so that your water is still and you see everything more clear through it.”

That is not to say each club member originally expected their thoughts to flow like calm waters.

“I thought it was all magical,” Ali Fisher, a sophomore nursing student, reflected.

Hill, too, said he expected something completely different.

“I was going to have all these experiences and all my questions in life were going to come to an answer,” Hill said.

The club stresses that the act of meditation is, instead, focused on being at peace in the moment, conscious of everything around you.

Hill pointed out, however, that meditation is less about the experience and more about the effects.

“(Meditation) has a lot of aspects of being able to calm down and become present in the moment,” Hill said.

“I don’t have stress,” Chris Adams, a senior graphic design major, said to a wave of laughter from other members in attendance.

“My inner person has completely changed from the past two years,” Fisher said.

She also pointed out that meditation has left her calmer and more composed in the face of stress.

The club unanimously agreed that they would recommend every college student meditate for as little as five minutes a day in order to see significant improvements in stress level and management within approximately two weeks.


Mallory Kutnick can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]