Beat the Winter Blues Away, Join Mindfulness Thursdays

Mallory Pautz, Staff Reporter

For as little as one hour a week beginning Thursday, February 14th, Lakeland University graduate student Elizabeth Licht is providing a unique opportunity to unite students and staff wishing to improve their confidence and clarity of thought through mindful practice. Class will be held every Thursday for the next eight weeks within the Brotz Multipurpose room between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.. Pre-registration is mandatory, with a deadline of February 14th, a week after the first class is held. Though Licht’s mindfulness course is complimentary for Lakeland students, staff will be charged a fee $5 per class or $40 for the duration of the course. 

For those uncertain of what it means to be mindful, Licht described it as “paying attention to the present moment without judgment,” something she admitted isn’t always easy to do alone. The group-focused mindfulness class emphasizes encouragement between participants as they meditate while bringing awareness to their physical and mental states. In her own words, “By accepting experiences that are already here, whether pleasant or unpleasant, we teach ourselves resilience and come to appreciate the small things. 

To strengthen both the skills learned within class and the bonds between classmates, Licht will be expecting students to record their individual experiences of home meditation exercises through journaling. Weekly meditations and reflections will be assigned to promote consistency of practice. Licht said, “By tuning into yourself, other people and your life as they already are. . . new possibilities open up.” Inspiration from the mindful teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Tara Brach, Dan Sigel and Tich Nhat Hanh will be incorporated throughout the course, according to Licht. Unlike traditional courses, Licht’s mindfulness class will not have a grading system, and there is no penalty for leaving the course should a participant feel it’s not the right fit. Licht advised those with “a history of trauma or an untreated mental or physical health challenges [to] please consult your physician or mental health care provider before enrolling in this program.” For those able to participate, there are many benefits students can reap from the skills learned from the class, including how to, according to Licht, “reduce stress, improve mood and relationships, and even promote healthy sleep and physical wellness.” 

Since 2008, Licht has been practicing mindfulness through various educational and career opportunities in Wisconsin, going on to teach yoga at Sheboygan’s Yoga on the Loft in 2014 and Milwaukee’s Danceworks, Inc. in 2017. She has experience working with a variety of age groups ranging from young adults to senior citizens. The inspiration to teach a mindfulness class here at Lakeland was drawn from her own anxiety felt while earning a degree at UW-Milwaukee as a dance major. Licht mentioned, “I’m looking forward to sharing mindfulness in the university setting, where I first encountered it, and am hoping that students and employees will find it as beneficial as I did.” Licht is currently in pursuit of a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. 

Those interested in heightening their personal awareness through the eight-week Mindfulness course must register through Alex Liosatos, Director of Health & Counseling Center, at [email protected] by February 14th. Brotz will be temporarily accessible during the duration of the course for commuters, staff, and students attending the course.