Instructors at the University of Missouri Student Health Center’s Contemplative Practice center take ancient practices and adapt them to modern times. By cultivating mindfulness through contemplative practices, students are able to apply the techniques learned through meditation, mindful yoga and loving-kindness to their academic studies and personal self-care.

"The Contemplative Practice Center offers a daily refuge for quiet reflection where students gather and support each other under the guidance of experienced professional staff," says Terry Wilson, certified health education specialist and health promotion and wellness director. "Students have the opportunity to leave the University with more than a degree. They develop enduring interpersonal skills they can use for life."

Terry Wilson, MEdSince 2002, the Center has offered skills-based practices to improve overall student well-being and resilience. Center interventions are based on research that shows mindfulness improves concentration and attention, reduces anxiety and depression, regulates emotions and positively affects creativity, interpersonal relationships, empathy and self-compassion.

The Center and its classes are integrated with the medical and behavioral health care services at the Student Health Center. Medical and behavioral health care providers have found the classes and activities at the Center complementary to their treatment plans for stress management and support services. It also serves as a multidisciplinary focal point for collaborative academic classes with the College of Education, Department of Counseling Psychology and the University’s Student Success Center.

The Best Practices in College Health award recognizes exemplary, innovative, and inspirational practices in one of four major areas of college health: (1) clinical services, (2) counseling services, (3) administrative and consumer services, and (4) health education and promotion services.