Written by 2018 Padua Alumna Natalie Onesi:
There’s something so amazing, almost magical, about putting conscious intention into setting your day in the morning. Hello everyone, my name is Natalie Onesi and I am currently a Sophomore at the University of Delaware! I am a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology with a minor in Theatre Studies, and I also balance about three jobs (that I love so much) at any given moment. Needless to say, I am a busy busy person. However, one thing that I have carried with me to make this less stressful is the techniques that I learned with Mr. Shelton both within his classroom and within our Meditation Club at Padua Academy. I am beyond thankful for the things I learned from these techniques because they help me stay on top of everything I have to do and approach it from a more stable and calm position rather than trying to approach it from a frantic and stressed point of view. One of the biggest things I remember about the techniques Mr. Shelton taught us is about relieving pressure on ourselves when we lose focus. When our minds started to wander, Mr. Shelton reassured us that it was okay, and we shouldn’t put so much pressure on staying on one track because putting that pressure on ourselves actually has more deleterious effects when we are trying to practice mindfulness. He would always say, those thoughts are trying to be there, don’t block them from coming, rather try to redirect yourself by thinking the phrase “inhale, exhale” and trying to focus on the area of our face that we were directing our breathing. While this was a technique we used during meditation when our mind started to wander, it was something I applied to everyday life. In life, losing focus on things and losing your way can be scary and frustrating but ultimately you have to balance yourself in order to move on in a productive way. So in moments when everything got very overwhelming, I remembered to just take a breath and redirect my energy.
Meditation has so many benefits. So, so many! And the experience differs for everyone. Personally I struggle with pretty significant anxiety that can sometimes even present itself in physical pain. Meditation was something that actually helped me reduce the intensity and duration of these pains. By being able to put myself into the right mindset and tame the anxiety, I was able to lower the severity. This was huge for me and I am eternally grateful for it! In addition to that, I noticed an increased amount of energy throughout the day, generally better mood, and ability to focus more. Practicing mindfulness lead to all of these things for me and in turn lead to healthier and more positive interactions with myself and the people around me. Good luck to all of you practicing mindfulness. It truly can change your life!