Mindful Monday- sharing my experience

Mindful Mondays is a series of guided mindfulness meditations and activities. The purpose of the sessions is to provide an intentional moment to relieve stress, connect with yourself, and refocus your mind. Organised by Vivian Wilson-Hwang, psychologist in Counseling & Psychological Services, the sessions are open to all students, faculty, and staff, and there is no registration or previous experience required.

Vivian says, “Mindful Mondays is an opportunity for anyone in our campus community to get together and practice an intentional moment of awareness, non-judgment, and care. It has been a great space for folx to connect with themselves and with each other to set the tone for the week.”

This autumn, I went along to the Mindful Monday sessions for the first time. As advertised, I didn’t have any experience in mindfulness or meditation, but in recognising an increasing difficulty to switch off from work and in having a general interest in the topic, I decided to give it a try.

After about a month of taking part, I am enjoying the sessions and I’m trying to make it a weekly thing. What I like is Vivian’s warm welcome and the level of guidance she gives in supporting me as a newcomer. Each session begins with a description of the activity and an explanation of how we can tailor the experience to match our preferences. I also like the variety of guided meditation activities between weeks. A few of my favorites are ‘Body scanning’ which involves focusing on different parts of the body, usually moving from top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top, and ”Noticing and naming’ which is mainly a breathing exercise but one in which we internally notice and name thoughts and feelings that arise during a process. Outside of the sessions, I have been trying to use some of these activities and techniques. For instance, using time on the bus to do ‘Noticing and naming’ or doing ‘Body scanning’ when trying to go to sleep.

Some activities I find easier and more relaxing, and some weeks it is easier than others to break away from the outside world and stay focused on the task. But as Vivian explains in the sessions, mindfulness itself is about finding out what works for each of us based on intentional engagement with ourselves and the world around us. The things we do to self-care can change based on where we are, how we feel, and what we need at a particular time. But a good starting point is to focus on and understand our presence in the present moment.

Overall, I find the sessions helpful and I really appreciate the time and support offered by Vivian.

I wanted to write this short piece about Mindful Mondays to let you know about the sessions- and if you have seen the adverts already- to provide a personal insight into my recent experience attending the sessions as a curious novice. If you feel like giving it try, check out the information below.

Join the sessions on Zoom: Meeting ID: 942 5908 1084 Passcode: UAMindful

Time and place: Mondays from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM Online (when classes are in session)

Primary Contact: Vivian Wilson-Hwang

Website: Health and Well-being events UAlbany

E: consultation@albany.edu

Written by Tom Underwood (tunderwood@albany.edu)

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