STUDENTS RELAX AT A SOUND HEALING MEDITATION IN THE FISH INTERFAITH CENTER SEPT. 29. PHOTO CREDIT: PAULINE YANG
by Olivia Siegel
The patient lays on a table, dim lights fill the room as soft music is played in the background. The Reiki instructor stands above him, using various hand positions to guide his body’s energy to the centers that require the most healing.
Stress relief could quite possibly be the most sought upon feeling for Chapman students. Alternative methods of relief have been seen growing within the Chapman community. Ways such as Reiki healing, meditation, and art therapy can have monumental effects on the stressed-out psyche.
Linda Lee Sheldon, Reiki master teacher, describes the practice as “a way of connecting with the lifeforce energy and wisdom that is all around us” as a way to utilize it “to clear old emotional energy that no longer serves us so we can live our lives without the filters created by past events and emotional baggage.”
In her practice, the patient lays on the therapy table for 60 minutes or more while Sheldon shares the Reiki energy with the patient, catering to the specific areas where relief is needed.
“The wisdom of Reiki works lovingly together with the person’s inner wisdom or inner healer (which we all have) so it knows exactly what each of us need and how much we can handle," said Sheldon.
Sheldon uses the practice of Reiki to help the flow of energy that travels through the body’s meridians. Similarly to veins that carry blood through the body, the meridians carry the body’s energy.
“Just like a blood clot can form in the blood veins causing a blockage, we can get a blockage in our meridians from holding on to emotional energies like fear, anger, guilt, pain and other emotions from the past. This happens to all of us," said Sheldon. "It’s part of being human. Reiki works on the meridians to find the blockages, dissolve them away and replace them with vibrant lifeforce energy.”
Not everyone is drawn to the more spiritual practices such as Reiki. Those who don’t feel connected to their body’s energy should consider experimenting with the practice of meditation. Even if it is solely for five minutes a day, a silent focus on the body’s breathing can be alarmingly beneficial in stress reduction.
By relieving pre-conceived notions about meditation before beginning, you can set yourself up to have a much more successful practice. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, and completely removing your mind of all thoughts is almost impossible, and too difficult of a goal to set out for.
Yoga is one of the most popular transitions to meditation for Chapman students. Sophomore Bianca Adamo practices at Sunspark Yoga located in the Orange Circle.
“I think that college is a main stressor in any young adults life and yoga really helps to de-stress and relax even if it is just for an hour, it helps me focus on myself and I think that in college that’s one thing that students don’t do enough," said Adamo.
Even with the small addition of yoga and meditation in her week Adamo has seen a huge change in her lifestyle. “I take situations a lot more positively after doing yoga, I can see myself being less stressed and anxious in situations involving school.”
Sheldon explains that the best advice she could give college students to live a more wholesome and stress-free lifestyle would be to “follow your inner feelings, listen to your inner wisdom, and take time for yourself. Appreciate nature. Find something to be thankful for then let that energy fill your being.”
Students have been seen taking time for themselves in a more creative setting. Art therapy has proven to be one of the most successful outlets for people with a variety of issues and disorders. Therapists aid the patient in ways to decrease the symptoms of whatever they are dealing with through self-expression. Art therapy has made an enormous difference in the lives of people with disorders such as autism, depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Engaging your brain towards a point of creativity is essential in a healing process, releasing the built up energy caused by stress and frustration into a piece of work.
There is no way to avoid the pressures and stress that comes with being a college student. Hectic schedules bring upon anxiety that seems almost impossible to control, however these techniques are almost guaranteed to transform the stressed into the serene.