The Serenity Room, which the College introduced last fall as a space for freshmen to practice self-guided relaxation exercises, will offer daily half-hour drop-in sessions to teach meditation and “mindfulness.” It is now open to all students as well as faculty.
Located in the basement of Grays Hall, the room—which was opened following a report on campus stress levels as well as in response to requests for a quiet space in the Yard—is open 24 hours a day and features cushioned chairs as well as beach-themed art. To facilitate meditation, room users can enjoy tea and listen to soothing music.
This year’s changes were inspired by the popularity of drop-in hours at Harvard University Health Services and are part of a University-wide initiative to promote mindfulness, said Jeanne M. Mahon, the director of the Center for Wellness who spearheaded the expansion of the Serenity Room’s services.
The instructor-led drop-in sessions take place Monday through Friday from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. and Monday through Thursday 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. They consist of a guided meditation.
The sessions focus on breathing, Mahon said, adding that instructors can choose which mindfulness technique to propose to the group.
While the room was underutilized last year, there have been anywhere from four to 12 people at each session since drop-ins were introduced this fall, she said.
“Mindfulness has been shown to be a mechanism of stress reduction,” said Alexandra E. Kutler, a Serenity Room instructor who studies mindfulness at Harvard Divinity School.
The drop-in hours “give people a space to disconnect,” she added.
Matthew J. Goodkin-Gold ’19, who attended drop-in hours last week, said that the guided exercises help familiarize students with meditation.
“For anyone interested in going, one session is enough to feel comfortable,” he said.
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