Mindfulness Club aims to help students reduce stress

Mercury Bowen, Staff Reporter

The EIU Mindfulness Club is an RSO dedicated to encouraging students to practice mindful habits and behaviors.

Professor Jaysinha Shinde started the Mindfulness Club nearly six years ago.

“The ability to empower people, that’s priceless,” Shinde said.

The club’s purpose is for teachers to enable students with mindfulness techniques to help increase contentment, happiness and compassion while reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

According to Shinde, statistics show 1 out of 5 young people consider suicide.

This statistic is, in part, what led Shinde to start the Mindfulness Club.

“To try to help (students), I want to do something,” Shinde said.

Shinde said he began teaching mindfulness at Eastern when a student he knew committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and young child.

“After that, every class I’ll at least teach them a little bit to give them a tool,” Shinde said. “Whether they use it or not, at least I have done my best.”

Joshua Harden, a graduate student in the MBA program, said he enjoys learning mindfulness techniques at the club meetings.

“I’ve been practicing techniques like this for a while,” Harden said. “It’s something that I really enjoy and want to be able to share with people as well.”

Khadijah Batoma, an undecided graduate student, said what she looks forward to most about the Mindfulness Club is being able to discover ways to help improve her life.

“(I enjoy) being able to chisel away at the chains of my own what keeps me from flying and being happier than I could be,” Batoma said. “Just being more free.”

One technique Shinde uses to help guide students in mindfulness is the Babjuji technique, which involves making a chart over the course of 21 days and recording one’s reactions and mindfulness.

“If you practice something for 21 days, chances are it will become a routine,” Shinde said. “Then you have acceptance over ego or expectation.”

Shinde said the club aims to teach students mindfulness techniques they can use on their own.

“It’s just a tool,” Shinde said. “Just like any other tool if you have it, you can use it when you need it, and it gets better as you practice it.”

Shinde will be teaching two seminars during the fall semester.

One seminar in October will be on the topic of how to reduce anger, and one in November will be based on how to help relationships.

The club will also be doing programs at Booth Library during finals week, including bringing in dogs for emotional support, as well as several other activities geared toward relieving stress.

According to Shinde, the best thing for anyone who is interested to do would be to come to the Mindfulness Club meetings at least three times in a row.

There are no fees or costs for joining the club, and students are not required to make any commitments to the group.

“I have always taught free, so there is no remuneration,” Shinde said. “I’m just doing this so I can make a difference.”

Shinde encouraged students to try the club out for themselves.

“To be able to unconditionally do something for people, without wanting anything back, that’s priceless,” Shinde said.

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].