Addressing anxiety by being in the now

Join the Student Health and Counseling Center for weekly mindfulness meditation sessions

Allison Vanderzanden | Lifestyle Editor

This fall term has brought a new service to Western students through the Student Health and Counseling Center: mindfulness meditation sessions are being held weekly over Zoom by counselors Emily Horak and Bliss Boutin.

Western’s administration requested that the Student Health and Counseling Center create a group in light of common stressors that students were facing, including concerns about COVID-19. Horak and Boutin volunteered to tackle these stressors.

“Mindfulness is something that we’re both really passionate about,” Horak said. “We heard that there was a need to start a group kind of like this, and the two of us volunteered to form it.”

During these mindfulness meditation sessions, students get time in a group setting to process the stress going on in their lives and understand ways of coping with them. Students not only learn about mindfulness, but they also practice mindfulness exercises. Horak and Boutin said they aim to utilize a combination of group counseling and mindfulness.

“With classes being online we’re really wanting it to feel less like a lecture and more interactive,” Horak said. 

She hopes they will achieve this by expanding their group. Students do not need to have prior knowledge or experience with mindfulness to join these sessions. The goal of this mindfulness meditation group is to help any Western students who may be experiencing stress. Horak and Boutin said there is no pressure for prospective students. 

“We just want it to feel very welcoming and inviting, and it’s not meant to feel formal for anyone,” Boutin said.

The mindfulness meditation group meets every Thursday at 3 p.m. until Dec. 10. It is free for students who have paid the fall term health service fee. Contact the Student Health and Counseling Center at 503-838-8313 if interested in joining.

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