‘Mindful Moments’ teaches stress management and gratitude

Sarah Yaacoub

For many students, this is a stressful time of the semester. Classes are picking up, homework is accumulating, and most classes have begun administering the first exams of the term—not to mention the added pressure of fifth-week assessments for freshmen and sophomores. It’s a busy time of year, and everyone has a lot on their mind.

“Mindful Moments,” the Counseling and Testing Center’s new meeting series, aims to help relieve some of the anxiety that accompanies academic responsibilities. “Mindful Moments,” led by licensed professional counseling associate and two-time WKU graduate Susan Harper, is a group that meets twice a week to practice mindfulness, which she defines as “a time to practice simply just being.”

“We’re always on the go,” Harper said. “We’re always in our phones. We’re always on social media, so my hope is that this group will be a place to take a break from the outside world, not worry about class, not worry about relationships.”

The second “Mindful Moments” meeting opened with each participant generating definitions of mindfulness and gratitude and listing things to be grateful for. Then, Harper turned on music and led the group through a guided meditation exercise designed to help release anxiety and tension.

“A lot of people have misconceptions about meditation, and they think that you have to completely clear your brain, you have to not think about anything,” Harper explained. “Really, it’s just a matter of learning to allow your thoughts to happen and learning to let go as you need to.”

Student Support Services counselor Imari Hazelwood, who attended the first “Mindful Moments” meeting on Sept. 10, said she found both the timing and techniques of the event helpful.   

“We were able to share quite a bit during the hour,” Hazelwood said. “It was good to get things off my mind and figure out ways to cope with stress.”

Hazelwood also said she appreciated the size of the group, as she found it to be more intimate than a larger meeting would have been.  

Harper said the decision to have “Mindful Moments” meet on Mondays and Fridays was a deliberate one, as she felt that meeting at both the beginning and end of the week would help.  

“My goal is that we can kind of start our week on a positive note and then end our week with time to reflect and wrap up how the week was,” Harper said. “On Mondays, we can plan for what type of energy you want to bring into this week—even if you’ve got, you know, a lot going on this week, what can you do through mindfulness that will help you get through?”

“Mindful Moments” meets Mondays from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in Downing Student Union room 2113 and Fridays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Garrett Conference Center room 110. It’s a WellU swipeable event and can be counted toward TopLife wellness points for WKU faculty health insurance. Contact Susan Harper at [email protected] with questions or for more information.

Features reporter Sarah Yaacoub can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow her on social media at @sarah.yaacoub.