Mindfulness: meditating on the subject

The difference between being mindful and mindless could mean a new approach to dealing with a stressful situation in a whole new way.

On Thursday, Feb. 19, Sanna Strenge, a graduate assistant for academic success, held a workshop called Utilizing Mindfulness Techniques as a College Student. She informed students about mindfulness and then different activities that encourages students to be mindful.

Strenge said that mindfulness is “a way of being present in your surrounding world and taking into account things to appreciate and be grateful for, and then just kind of recentering yourself.”

During the mindfulness workshop, Strenge introduced a variety of different activities to illustrate what mindfulness can look like.

“What I like about [mindfulness] and why I thought it was important to teach the college students that it can be used as a stress management technique without people knowing about it,” Strenge said.

The activities included making people breathe with intention, walking across the room and encouraging them to think only about walking, making the workshop attendants eat a clementine very slowing and taking into account of the details of the clementine.

Another activity made people attending the workshop pass a glass that was completely full around the circle. Once the people had passed the cup once around, Strenge challenged people to either use one arm to pass the full cup or to balance on one leg. This challenges an element of stress that Strenge related to a stressful situation in college.

Strenge introduced 4-3-2-1 activity, which is a way to focus on the present. First the person doing the exercise thinks of four things they see, three things they hear, two things they physically feel and one thing they smell.

“With the 4-3-2-1 exercise, people don’t know you’re doing it,” Strenge said. “It … gives students tools to utilize, even when their busy … they think about their breathe in class, do the 4-3-2-1 so it’s very approachable and can be implemented in your life easily.”

Attendants of the workshop showed interest about mindfulness and how the workshop was set up.

“I loved that the whole thing was activity based,” said Danielle Duxbury, a senior speech communication major, who described herself as a “hands-on learner”. 

Desiree Cyr, a recent SDSU graduate, was another attendant of the workshop.

“I’ve done some research on mindfulness,” Cyr said. “It’s good stress management; focusing on the now. The problems are in the past.”

Another part of mindfulness can be mindful eating. According to Strenge, the process of mindful eating allows the person to slow down and think very critically about what they are putting into their body.

The mindfulness workshop will be held again on Feb. 25 at the Wintrode Student Center at 5 p.m.

Strenge has taught other workshops for her teaching assistant position including note taking and test taking skills, but she did the mindfulness workshop because she wanted to include a lesson that focused on well-being. 

“The idea there is an ease to implementing these,” Strenge said. “These techniques can be done and people can feel comfortable doing them on their own too so it kind of gives that immediate relief.”