Take a Deep Breath
By Austin Smith & Michelle Revoir
The Zen Center of Syracuse is reaching out to provide stress relief to those who really need it by offering a twice a week meditation program to a developmentally disabled group. The program is aimed at lowering anxiety and is especially beneficial for these students because they have a tougher time handling stressful situations.
“This group has a hard time when they are between activities,” said Zen Center of Syracuse Membership Chairman Laura Melnikow. “Someone said they would pick them up at the door, they could be one minute late and that panic will set in because with brain injuries it is very hard to handle that moment.”
You can find another Zen Center meditation program being practiced behind the walls of the Onondaga County Justice Center that is designed to help inmates deal with heightened stress and anger.
“I choose to participate in meditation because it relieves my stress and anger, especially when I’m amongst my peers on the pod,” said inmate Syeeb Howard. ”It can get a little chaotic so it is a time of peacefulness and alone time to give myself more time to think about what my real necessities are.”
The inmates can use these skills they have learned in stressful situations once they are on the outside, possibly keeping them from returning to custody.
“Many people get into the trouble they’re in because they have really strong patterns of anger or worry, intention and anxiety. Some people are just extremely impulsive,” said Justice Center Buddhist Chaplain Bonnie Shoultz. “Meditation can help with all of those things, that’s why we do it.”