For some students, religion and religious practices help with mindfulness and stress relief, especially in school.
Junior Cornelia Penn, who is Buddhist, meditates daily. She sees meditation as a chance to “express herself” and describes her way of practicing as “freeing.”
“Meditation is a way to escape the stress of daily life, and it’s a way to calm myself when my emotions are getting larger and so big that I can’t control them,” Cornelia said. “It makes me more calm, more understanding of others, and not so quick to judge other people because I know what they’re going through because Buddhism encourages me to self reflect.”
Sophomore Eliza Morgan, who is Buddhist, uses meditation as part of a value system. She initially became Buddhist as a freshman because she was seeking a way to “know what the right thing to do is” without worshipping a deity.
“Buddhism is about letting everything go,” Eliza said. “For instance, if I get a bad grade on a test, it’s not the end of the world, it happened. Meditation has made me a lot more relaxed, to the point where some people get the impression that I don’t care about things, but I’m more focused on the goal than the process.”
For one student who identifies as Mainline Protestant and requested to be anonymous, religion means trusting that “God always has a plan.”
“He may want you to go through some hard times because he wants you to learn from them,” she said. “I always think of that when I’m going through something hard because what I think might be good for me isn’t actually what God wants for me, and His plan is always better.”
Her beliefs have allowed her to manage stress surrounding her grades.
“It’s made me realize that my grades aren’t super important anymore,” she said. “Religion helps ground me. Instead of me going all over the place and yelling and screaming, it sort of prevents me from hurting myself and hurting others. God has planned so much more for me than my grades. He defines me as someone completely different.”