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More minds needed at Mindful Mondays

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Mindful Mondays will be discontinued if turnout has not increased by the end of this semester.

Mental Health Services Coordinator Stephanie Will started Mindful Mondays at Montgomery College this semester to offer students a study break and teach them how to incorporate mindfulness into their daily routines.

Meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn defined mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Mindfulness began centuries ago as a religious practice in Buddhist and Hindu traditions, and entered Western medicine over the past few decades as a secular tool for psychological well-being, according to a Clinical Psychology Review article.

When it comes to school, Ms. Will said research shows mindfulness “can improve students’ chances of graduating, graduating on time, and being successful academically.”Use of mental health services on campus tends to be “more reactive than proactive,” said MC Professor and counselor Fabian Drain.

“A lot of students suffer needlessly,” said MC Professor and counselor Mary Harrell, “when they could talk to someone and […] become mindful.”

“We understand that our students have high demands on their time outside of the classroom,” said Mary Sierra, Student Life Director. “It’s so hard to say what will resonate with our students and what will not.”

In Ms. Sierra’s experience, “the events that have a high student turnout are those planned or co-sponsored and advertised by students on campus.” In contrast, Mindful Mondays are organized solely by Ms. Will.

Prof. Harrell said, “things that tend to be well-attended here are things that are hooked up with the academic side.” Even the student rate of using counseling services is very low, she said.

She recommended getting the word out to students via teachers and directly connecting mindfulness with health classes or psychology classes in order to promote attendance.

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More minds needed at Mindful Mondays