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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

UF soil and water science professor Sabine Grunwald practices mindfulness everywhere, even in her office. She keeps her yoga mat stashed underneath her desk.

"Mindfulness is a non-judgement focus on what’s happening (in your life)," she said.

Grunwald paved the way for the UF Mindfulness project, which kickstarted with a meditation flash mob Thursday. Today, the first-ever UF Mindfulness Day will be celebrated in Library East, Room 100. The project is a campuswide initiative to bring mindfulness to courses, programs and trainings, she said.

Today’s events will offer students and faculty a space to meditate and learn about becoming mindful, Grunwald said.

"Mindfulness relates to how we understand ourselves as a part of life and humanity," she said.

The events start at 8:20 a.m. and will focus on meditating, which relieves stress and benefits your health, said Nancy Lasseter, a licensed mental health counselor and a wellness educator for the UF Health Shands Hospital Integrative Medicine Program.

"You can train your mind to be happier and move away from the negativity that we get entrenched in," she said. "(Meditating) trains one how to deal with the dire wealth of negativity and suffering and pain that’s out there."

Those participating do not need any prior experience before attending today’s events. Lasseter, who will be guiding two mediations, said she encourages students to participate even if they feel intimidated.

In the morning, attendees can learn the benefits of meditation and the basics of mindfulness, Grunwald said. Later in the day, students can listen to keynote speaker Michael Singer, a spiritual teacher.

"Hopefully by walking into the door and opening your mind, you might find something there that’s useful for you in your life," Lasseter said.

UF psychology and women’s studies alumna Lizzie Lunior will lead a guided meditation. The 22-year-old said she is hopeful the program’s implementation will make students less stressed.

"In a lot of ways, this is the future," she said. "(Our world and its surroundings are) the raw material to be inspired by and become the change we want to see."

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Contact Danielle Veenstra at dveenstra@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter @_Veenstra_

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