by SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
When Rob Stephens, a 22-year-old senior, walks into the Mindfulness Room at Carnegie Mellon University, he leaves his homework and stress at the door.
He is surrounded by a waterfall wall, plants, lots of natural light and an open space with cushions on the floor — a 24/7 space is set aside for meditation or just peaceful thinking.
“I definitely think it helps to de-stress,” said Stephens, a global studies major from Atlanta, Georgia. “It’s the time I spend making sure I am OK.”
Mindfulness is as popular at colleges nationwide as it is now at CMU.
“It’s someone giving themselves uninterrupted mental space,” said Stephens. “Some focus on themselves or others. It’s a time to stop and refocus your purpose.”
Studies show the practice may be an antidote to the high levels of stress and depression seen on college campuses.
The American College Health Association found in a 2015 study that more than 85 percent said they “felt overwhelmed” by the demands of college. And a third of all student said stress had a negative effect on their overall academic performance.
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