Meditation rooms offer a calm space

by Daily Editorial Board

Earlier this month, the University of Minnesota opened two meditation rooms on campus, in the Comstock and 17th Avenue residence halls. The spaces are meant to provide students with a designated area for mindfulness — whether that involves prayer, meditation or relaxation.
Regardless of religion or creed, all students can benefit from focusing awareness on their thoughts and habits outside of an environment full of daily stressors, proponents of the campus meditation space said.
Meditation can also serve as a preventative or therapeutic approach to mental health, according to Gary Christenson, Boynton Health Service’s chief medical officer. 
While many benefits of mindful meditation — including better well-being and lower stress — previously lacked experimental evidence, a recent study has demonstrated meditation can actually improve health.
Research published this month by Carnegie Mellon University professors showed that participants who were told to mindfully meditate — versus just relax — had more brain activity in areas related to processing stress. 
Nationally, one in five young adults lives with mental health problems, and more than 95 percent of college counseling center directors have reported a growing concern with the number of students who have significant psychological problems.
For years, the University has struggled to provide adequate resources to the increasing amount of students living with depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Meditation offers a free tool to supplement those ongoing efforts. We urge students to give meditation a try, and we hope the University will open similar rooms on the West Bank and the St. Paul campus as well.