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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Candy meditation aims to help students’ mental health

A cartoon of a woman meditating on a ball of stress. Mindfulness and You engages students to practice mindfulness by focusing their senses on their current state. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

DeKALB – Eating candy and having a therapeutic session has never connected until now. Counseling and Consultation Services hosted a Well-o-Ween event, Mindfulness and You: Candy Meditation, consisting of eating candy while deciphering life’s challenges. 

To practice something mindfully, students must pay attention to what they are sensing at the moment. College students are known to experience less stress and anxiety by practicing mindfulness, according to a handout given out to the students.

Monday’s activity was “candy meditation.” The meditation involved using the five senses to fully savor the candy and apply those teachings to how students’ should appreciate everything in their lives. 

The goal of the exercise was for the participants to enjoy their candy with all five senses. Participants looked at the candy’s exterior to see if it was sticky, stiff, or soft, among other things, before eating the sweet. 

Baylee Snell, a junior special education major, said she had never done an event like this before.

“I really love it because I’m super big into mindfulness and meditation,” Snell said. “I’m a transfer student, and at my last school, we didn’t do anything like this, so I’ve been looking for some meditation or mindful things to do here.”

Brian Podkulski, a senior psychology major, is one of the facilitators who helps lead the sessions. 

“Personally, I feel great about it because I get to be a facilitator,” Podkulski said. “I believe in the mission and the skills that we teach in Mindfulness and You, so it’s something that I really appreciate in a very personal, first-person perspective. Everything I’ve heard from people that attend or come back or just attend one meeting, it seems like they really enjoy themselves and they really get something out of it so it’s very rewarding in that sense. I get first-hand the effect it has on people.”

To no surprise, some participants’ favorite part was actually eating the candy.

At the end, students discussed how the activity could be used to practice mindfulness in their own lives. Just like savoring the candy, they were told to savor their lives and savor the small things. 

Giselle Hernandez, a junior environmental studies major, said she enjoyed slowing down and learning to appreciate the candy. 

“I would say actually putting the candy in my mouth and savoring and not chewing it was my favorite part,” Hernandez said. “It just felt nice to savor that candy instead of chewing it.” The last event of Well-o-Ween, the Procrastination Café, will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m Tuesday in the Holmes Student Center’s Illinois Room.

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