Jessica Jarrott, junior, Social Work and friend Michael McDilda (local citizen & perspective Shepherd student) participate in Meditation Monday in the Cumberland Room in the Student center from 12:05 - 12:50pm.
Photography by Bruce Burgess.

Meditation Mondays Relieve Stress

Popularized by celebrities like The Beatles, Russell Simmons and David Lynch, meditation proves to be highly effective at relieving stress and improving physiological health for people from all walks of life.

Defining meditation is difficult but can best be described as a broad variety of practices that include techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy and develop compassion, patience, cognitive processing and forgiveness. Students at Shepherd are encouraged to visit the free Meditation Monday program located in the Cumberland Room of the Student Center from 12:05 to 12:50 p.m.

The Shepherd program, now in its third year, started as a joint effort between Dr. Anne Murtagh, assistant professor of psychology, and university counselor Rhonda Jackson. Both witnessed the benefits of meditation in other universities.

Jackson stated the Shepherd program has shown consistent benefits as reported by students, faculty, staff and local citizens who attend. They have found students benefit from increased creativity, an improvement in overall well-being and an increase in personal ability to deal with stress.

Murtagh said, “Undergraduate students who were higher in mindfulness reported more effective coping techniques, fewer maladaptive coping techniques and lower perceived stress.”

Murtagh also emphasizes that meditation is shown to develop focus and attention, facilitate learning, improve memory and is shown to increase calm and positive emotions.

Filmmaker David Lynch believes so much in the benefits of meditation that he founded The David Lynch Foundation in 2005. The foundation provides low cost tuition and scholarships for meditation learning to disadvantaged youth, students and combat veterans, who have all found great benefits in practicing meditation. Russell Simmons joined him as a senior advisor to the foundation due to his own successes and strong personal belief in meditation’s benefits.

In a 2012 interview with the Transcendental Meditation Blog, Simmons said, “Meditation is about connecting the young person or adult to their happy, joyful self. The kids’ job in life, their only pursuit, should be happiness, and meditation promotes happiness.”

Several universities have developed athletic meditation programs which are showing increases in endurance, muscle mass and athletic performance. This remarkable technique has been used by the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls. Meditation is beneficial to both body and mind.

Junior social work major Jessica Jarrott sometimes attends Shepherd’s Meditation Monday.

Jarrott said, “I find it’s a place, a practice, where I relax myself, and I go into a personal meditation and heal wounds from the outside world.”

Students, faculty, staff and local citizens are all encouraged to explore the many benefits available through meditation. Feel free to stop by the Cumberland Room on Mondays and explore the possibilities that are shown to improve lives from all walks of life.

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