Healthy Student Initiative – Are YOU Ready to Join?

Posted by Megan on January 27, 2014

Journey to the Centre of York

Hi Readers! 🙂

Today I thought I would share a cool research program that the Psych department emailed me about. It’s called the…

Healthy Student Initiative

What is it?

The HSI is a research program that aims to deliver physical, mental and emotional benefits to any students and staff that would like to participate. More specifically, HSI hosts FREE  drop-in mindfulness meditation sessions – both on campus and online!

What’s in it for you?

Perhaps some of you already know about some of the amazing science-proven benefits of mindfulness meditation. For those that don’t, some of the benefits include: improved attention, reduced stress and anxiety, more regulated emotions, relieving pain, better sleep, and more – all of which can help make you a better student!

Who practices mindfulness meditation?

Anyone that is interested in mindfulness meditation can try it. However individuals affected by stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anger management, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, tinnitus, congestive heart failure, back pain and many other conditions might find meditation especially helpful (WebMD).

How does it work?

In a general sense, meditation works by focusing on a relaxed mental and physical state. Meditators are often directed to free the mind of thoughts. Specifically in mindfulness meditation, meditators are guided to be mindful of their situation and any thoughts, but to gently refocus on the relaxed state. For example if you are meditating and a thought popped in your head, you would think to yourself ‘okay, that’s interesting. Now back to meditation‘ or something simple like that. It sounds silly but when you experience it, it’s actually amazingly helpful.

Scientifically, the brain is believed to switch from ‘regular’ brain waves (alpha waves) into relaxing brain waves (theta waves) which are thought to increase pain-killing endorphins, slow breathing, and decrease heart rate and blood pressure  – all of which combine to reduce stress and fatigue which is why meditation is helpful for treating and preventing a variety of conditions (WebMD).

How do I participate?

If you just want to participate in the mindfulness meditation and not the study, you can drop in or join the sessions online. The schedule, including meeting locations can be found here. All of the in-person sessions happen in the Behavioural Sciences Building. To join the online session, click here (note: nothing will show up if a session isn’t currently running).

If you also want to participate in the study you can send an email to Please keep in mind that HSI may or may not have open study positions. Also, eligible participants may be compensated for participating! It’s not much, I think $50-100 a semester, but something is better than nothing, right? 🙂

Where can I learn more?

Feel free to check out the Healthy Student Initiative website! They also have an awesome FAQ section that can be found here.

What do you think guys? I was actually really excited when I received this email because I’ve been interested in practising meditation consistently. I’ve done mindfulness meditation before with AMAZING results (I even get a full body buzz for a couple hours sometimes) but I’m the kind of person that appreciates a lot of direction until I feel like I know what I’m doing alone. When I checked the HSI schedule I realized I can do FOUR online sessions a week (Monday-Thursday 9-10pm).

I’m really excited to get the most out of this opportunity. I hope everyone will at least try one session, what have you got to lose? 🙂



Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

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  • Megan

    Hi Abid,

    My apologies for not noticing your comment faster. I feel really passionate about this, so really, thank you for being involved in it 🙂 I hope lots of new students participate!


  • Avatar

    Hi Megan,

    I’m one of the meditation leaders from the Healthy Student Initiative. Really appreciate your posting and getting the word out about our program 🙂

    Hope to see you soon.

    – Abid