Meditation for Wellness

Hanna Savanuck

In a world run by technology and media, it can often be difficult to cut out all the distractions and regain focus on what is truly important. In today’s fast paced environment, individuals can become overwhelmed with school, work, and their personal lives. This leaves many people wondering, “How can I silence all of this noise?”

There are so many trends in today’s society that can help someone with their mental health but clearly one of the most popular is meditation. Meditation, a practice that can help individuals gain control over their racing thoughts, has been in the spotlight for quite some time now.

According to a 2018 report done by the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, 14.2 percent of Americans said they have meditated within the past year. Because of its growing popularity and supportive research, more and more people are discovering the benefits of meditation and The Community College of Baltimore County encourages students to incorporate this practice into their lives.

CCBC is now offering a Meditation for Wellness class (PELF 144). Offered through The Wellness Department in The Athletics and Wellness Center on the Essex campus, this course focuses on the science behind the benefits of meditation and how it can reduce stress and symptoms of illness while improving attention and well-being. This class includes a wide variety of engaging practices that will appeal to all students, regardless of how familiar they are with meditation.

Devoted yoga and meditation enthusiast, Leslie Tinios, is guiding her students on their path to self - discovery by teaching this new course. A teacher of many things, Tinios’ experience, knowledge, and dedication to meditation makes her the perfect fit. Not only is she empowering students through this practice, but she also teaches health, fitness and wellness, stress management, yoga, and holistic health.

So, what sparked Tinios’ interested in meditation? While she was practicing yoga, she began incorporating it into the stress management and holistic health classes she was teaching at the time. She also attributes her desire to explore, to her love of these subjects.

“I think since I was younger, I was a seeker,” she says. “In my free time, I would look at yoga books and think, ‘What does it mean to meditate?’ So, I had something in me that was open to discovery and then when I first practiced yoga in the late 1980s, meditation and breathing practices were all intertwined with the yoga. So that led me to think about maybe we [CCBC] could offer a course in meditation.”

After taking a sabbatical to go deeper into her meditating, she came back and proposed the idea of this course to the college. The idea was brought to life in the fall of 2015 and ran as an experimental class in the spring of 2016.

“It filled up right away,” Tinios says with a smile on her face. “It was so amazing. So then The Wellness Department sent it through the process and it was approved.”

Tinios describes meditation as, “A self-reflection tool, a practice for being in your body, a centering tool, a way to calm down, and use breath for uniting body and mind which can bring us back from distraction to focus attention.”

Although everyone has their own definition of meditation, Tinios points out that anyone can benefit from the practice. It can encourage people to calm their thoughts and “ground” themselves, which means to center oneself and focus on the one thing they can control - the present moment. This popular form of meditation is called mindfulness.

“It’s [mindfulness] training your mind to pay attention to what you want to pay attention to; to not be lost in thought. Our willingness to get out of our wild minds by coming to our senses, is a tool for helping us navigate life,” Tinios says.

Too often, our minds become so distracted that we can get lost in thoughts, like getting lost in a forest and not having any direction of how to find a way out.

Tinios continues, “Mindfulness quiets the thinking mind because you are attending to the present moment through your senses. Paying attention to sights, sounds, and sensations in your body, the thoughts moving through your mind, and emotional states, call us to the present moment of our experience. And when we’re focused on the present, our stress level goes down.”

While mindfulness appears to be one of the most practiced forms of meditation, concentrative meditation is also widely practiced. This style typically involves focus on something specific. It could be an object, a candle flame, a mandala, or a mantra, which is repeated words or sayings that can be used to focus the mind.

However, too often, people who are interested in meditation can be confused by the different types. The labels aren’t important though; what’s important is one’s ability to use the practices to focus on what is able to be controlled in an exact moment.

Tinios says that with all the stresses in life and constant technology around us, it’s easy to forget to take care of our minds. “Now more than ever our culture needs an antidote to the hyper arousal and distraction that our devices have provided us.”

Taking a break from the normal routine and distractions of life is where meditation comes in and for the person who is constantly on the move, there are many smart phone apps that can be helpful. Tinios suggests 10% Happier, Waking Up, Insight Timer, and HeadSpace.

As for her final words about meditation, Tinios states, “Meditation is the antidote to the stress of modern living.”

If a simple practice can take the pressure off of our everyday stresses, why not go for it? And thanks to Leslie Tinios and the Wellness Department, Meditation for Wellness is now an active course at the college and open to all students.

11 comments

  1. Eric Cox 6 May, 2019 at 11:12 Reply

    I’ve only practiced mediation a few times in my life. In fact, I haven’t since I was in high school and that was close to three years ago. However, I do recall the results of such a practice did have enriching results. I remember feeling an increased amount of focus, just as the article maintained. Furthermore, the stress that a high school would endure due to class, work, and from our peers was seemingly reduced. Looking back I wish that I had kept at it and continued reaping the benefits. I think with the semester nearing a close I will give it another go.

  2. Diata Abdullahi 10 May, 2019 at 06:32 Reply

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I agree that meditation is an excellent way of clearing the cluttered thoughts out of one’s mind in order to focus one one particular thing. In the modern age, everyone is inundated with distractions left and right, never being able to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time. Students especially are often juggling multiple things at once throughout their day all while still trying to find time to submitted that last essay that’s due at midnight. I believe meditation is a great way of increasing a person’s mental fortitude as well. It helps people stay focused on whatever they believe requires the most attention or is most important. Whether you need help with time management, money management, self-care, or your social life, meditation always helps.

  3. Arianna Harris 10 May, 2019 at 13:50 Reply

    This article is great ! I totally agree that people need some sort of mental escape from the stress that occurs during our everyday lives. Meditation is a great way to do that and there are many ways to meditate, I think you just have the find the one that is right for you. For instance, I meditate over scripture in the morning to start my day off correctly and positively. I also believe that meditation is apart of self-care which is essential. This article is great to combat the stereotype of what people think meditation is or what it should look like. Very helpful !

  4. IGA PERKA 12 May, 2019 at 11:41 Reply

    I have tried mediation myself. I meditated pretty regularly when I was in high school and I must say it helps me stay in the moment and just disconnect from the rush and stress that is all around me.
    I used to meditate in the morning, it helped me start my day the right way. Now I find that mediation in the evening, before I sleep, helps me relax, calm my anxiety and it’s a great transition to sleep.

  5. Berlin 12 May, 2019 at 17:12 Reply

    This article is a great reminder for people to time out of their day to relax and take care of themselves. There are many different forms of meditation that people can do to best suit their needs. I often find spending too much time spending way too much time on social media throughout the day. I think taking a few minuets out of my day to meditate and relax will help alleviate everyday stress.

  6. Kuiara Jackson 12 May, 2019 at 18:40 Reply

    I believe this is a great idea to have. Many people including myself do not deal with stress well and hearing this opportunity to take this class to help us learn the differences in meditation would be helpful to me or anyone else. Learning new techniques to how I could make my everyday life better without being in a scramble would be a great deal to me.

  7. Randy Smith 12 May, 2019 at 23:08 Reply

    I think it’s great that CCBC is offering mediation for wellness courses. I haven’t really been into mediating as much as other people I know, but I also know of people who swear by it. It does seem that we live in a faster pace world than normal, and that this can create stress or anxiety and being able to take a break and relax is key anymore.

  8. Susan Campbell 13 May, 2019 at 09:59 Reply

    This article is tremendously helpful and important to the overall well-being of college students. Many of us are juggling multiple jobs and classes not to mention some with families. During this semester my Psychology professor gave us a project to complete for our final and I chose Meditation as I have previous seen the benefits from taking a Yoga class in the Fall of 2018. It was incredibly insightful and beneficial to learn more about how Meditation works and what the health benefits are. My Psych partner and I created a website for our project which I will share in my comment. I am excited for the opportunity to take this course in the coming semesters, I hope it will be available.

  9. Telisha 14 May, 2019 at 11:58 Reply

    I Love Meditating. I’m not sure how I would make it through exam week without taking out the time to relax

  10. Joe 17 May, 2019 at 02:30 Reply

    The topic of meditation really intrigues me, and I had no clue it was a class offered at CCBC. I have never honestly tried to meditate because I don’t know how so it would be beneficial to learn proper ways to so. Knowing the instructor Leslie is so experienced and passionate makes me eager to give the class a try!

  11. Marquet Grant 11 July, 2019 at 21:14 Reply

    This was a great article! I think meditating is a great stress reliever. I never realized the many different forms of meditation. I meditate in the evenings, after a long day of working. I play soft relaxing music, such as ocean sounds. While listening to relaxing music I read the bible, and meditate on the many scriptures. This helps to give me a renewed mind ,and spirit. I think it is healthy for people to meditate if not daily at least once week. This allows one to calm their thoughts, clear their mind, and relieve stress.

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