WSU Student Researches Mindfulness

Kellie Plumhof

(Kellie Plumhof / The Signpost)
Tyson Bryant is currently participating in a psychology practicum at Weber State University. (Kellie Plumhof / The Signpost)

Life can be stressful, especially during college. One Weber State University student is devoting his time to researching on mindfulness and how it can help reduce stress.

Tyson Bryant first attended WSU to receive his associate’s degree before transferring to Utah State to receive his bachelor’s in Asian studies. Bryant returned to WSU last fall and has been working on his research with the psychology department since.

“My interest in coming back to WSU was to go to psychology grad school,” Bryant said. “I’m filling out a curriculum vitae, I’m doing things: research, practicum, directed readings and I’ll be done with all of that by spring 2016.”

Bryant’s study is focused on mindfulness meditation, which is the practice of focusing on the here and now, rather than worrying about the past and future. According to Bryant, the goal of mindfulness is to allow people to consider their thoughts and troubles without assigning them judgement.

“The word mindfulness refers to an intentional awareness of the present moment,” Bryant said. “The meditation is just the formal practice of that quality.”

According to Bryant, the practice of mindfulness gives people the ability to reduce their stress by accepting it.

“We’re not really unhappy because of who we are or what we have in our life,” Bryant said. “It’s because of what we think and stress is right in line with that.”

Bryant also believes that mindfulness can help reduce stress and allow people to be more effective in their day-to-day lives and find new perspectives on stress.

“You can look at your stress without having to run away from it or crumble before it,” Bryant said. “You can be with it.”

Bryant took his research and put it into practice by co-facilitating a mindfulness meditation group with Craig Oreshnick, who is part of the clinical staff at the Counseling and Psychological Services Center here at WSU. The group is held every Wednesday and Bryant says they have plans to continue throughout all semesters.

Oreshnick says that he meets once a week with Bryant to discuss the practice of mindfulness and to help Bryant in his delivery of different guided meditations.

“Tyson and I co-facilitate the group experience,” Oreshnick said. “Tyson assumes more responsibility for leading the group as the semester progresses.”

Prior to co-facilitating the group with Bryant, Oreshnick has co-facilitated the meditation group for the past few years. According to Oreshnick, this experience is helping Bryant expand his own mindfulness and meditation skills.

Theresa Kay, who is an associate professor of psychology, has worked with Bryant during his time here at WSU.

“I’ve found working with students like Tyson to be extremely rewarding,” Kay said. “Watching him grow in knowledge and skills over the course of the semester has been wonderful.”

Bryant said he will spend next semester furthering his research and also preparing to present it again. Last year Bryant presented at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Conference (RMPA), which was held in Boise, Idaho, and would enjoy the opportunity to present his current research at the upcoming conference in Denver.

“It was a really good time,” Bryant said. “I got to meet a lot of like-minded people who were also working on this type of research.”

Students who are interested in the mindfulness meditation group can attend one of two sessions offered each week on both Tuesday from noon to 12:50 p.m. and Wednesday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m. in the Student Services Center, room 280.