Stress is an inescapable part of life, but its accumulation is detrimental to our health. Its toll on our bodies, however, could be eased if only there was a place where students could get away from the hubbub of life and just enjoy the blessed silence.
Fortunately, the university has begun to recognize such student needs. Eastern Michigan University’s Student Government recently voted unanimously in support of a resolution urging the university to incorporate more reflection rooms, or designated spaces for meditation, prayer and quiet reflection, in convenient locations on campus.
These rooms are not hollowed spaces; they are tranquil spaces to be utilized. Reflection, meditation, and prayer are some of the most powerful tools that humans have at their service.
Introspection gives us the opportunity to look within ourselves and examine our actions, our wants and needs, and our thoughts. Meditation allows us to take a step back from our chaotic lives and simply breathe. Prayer provides us with the opportunity to step outside of ourselves and have a spiritual time out.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation is a quick and simple way to reduce stress. It gives us the time and space we need to get away from the sensory overload and clearing away the debris that builds up and adds to our mental stress. Reducing tension and negative emotions and increasing self-awareness are benefits of meditation.
An article published in Psychology Today on March 29, 2013 titled, “Heart and Soul Healing,” discussed “the relaxation response.” The neologism was established by Harvard Medical School’s
Dr. Herbert Bensen. This response occurs while individuals are praying and meditating. The body’s metabolism slows, blood flow to the brain is increased, and breathing becomes more even and regular. The relaxation response is associated with serenity and relaxation.
Many people travel abroad to get away from the clutter of life, to learn about themselves and to find their inner voice. A classic, well-known example of this is the book Eat, Pray, Love. However, you can find self-recovery without traversing an ocean, and on university grounds at that.
Reflection rooms are becoming a recognized space for the peace they offer people individually and collectively. As the resolution notes, Eastern will not be the first institution, or even the first university to make space for reflection rooms. The University of Michigan- Ann Arbor has many rooms scattered throughout their campus for students and other members of the university to make use of throughout their day. Hospitals and airports have dedicated areas for reflection as well.
This resolution is an enormous step forward for the university and the student body. The benefits of prayer, meditation, and reflection apply to every individual. Regardless of an individual’s background or religious affiliation, these reflection rooms will serve as open spaces for the students at Eastern to seek their personal quiet time in a peaceful, welcoming space.
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