Being mindful versus a mind full
By Collette Carter, Messenger-Inquirer
With busy lives and competing priorities, it is often hard to slow down.
Or at least we think it’s hard to slow down. So many times we think that we have to do everything and feel overwhelmed by the “to do” list for the day.
In reality, we would be more productive if we took the time to prioritize and recognize there are ways to organize our days to accomplish what needs to get done. Part of the priority needs to be our own health and wellness. Mindfulness is a tool that can help promote good health.
Many of you may be familiar with the term mindfulness but are not really sure what it means. According to Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., mindfulness is awareness without judgment of what is, via direct and immediate experience.”
Mindfulness is really about being in the here and now. It’s about being aware of what is around you and even being in touch with your emotions. It’s about not letting your thoughts get the best of you but instead staying in control.
With mindfulness, you should take a pause before we react. Mindfulness is also about giving yourself grace when you aren’t perfecting everything you do.
In reading about mindfulness and how to incorporate it into a daily routine, I came across information on mindful.org that stated, “We all have the ability to be mindful — we have to learn how to access it.”
Mindfulness may not be easy for everyone. It does take practice. Mindfulness is also a personal journey and is effective when we begin to take the time to stop and enjoy what “is” within our lives.
It also provides personal growth. My husband is always telling me to “slow down” and I will admit I tend to stay busy most of the time with my mind full of thoughts.
What I have learned to do is take time early in the morning as I enjoy my first cup of coffee to be mindful or in the evening when I can sit in my screened-in porch and enjoy the nature that surrounds my home.
Mindfulness is evidence-based and provides many health benefits. TherapistAid.com notes the benefits of mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety, improve our mental focus, increase our ability to adapt and even help us have greater satisfaction with our relationships.
Here are some examples to incorporate mindfulness:
- Take time to pause during the day. Just stop and notice something you see, smell or hear.
- Participate in activities like yoga, tai chi or other activities that merge a meditation practice.
- Take a walk. As you are walking, notice nature around you.
- Take time to breathe. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and concentrating on the way you breathe in and out.
- Choose to sit in a quiet place and enjoy the serenity.
- When you eat a meal you enjoy, take the time to enjoy the flavors of the food.
There are multiple resources available to find out more about mindfulness on the internet and multiple books on the topic. Several of these resources are mentioned previously in this article. If you have access to a wellness program, many of these platforms provide education and practices on the topic of mindfulness.
The next time you think you don’t have time to be mindful, remember that you will be better being mindful instead of carrying a mind full.
Collette Carter, MA, is the director of the Owensboro Health Healthpark.
Amanda Owen is the founder and executive director of Puzzle Pieces. Follow Amanda’s Blog: Pieces of Me: Perspectives on Inclusion and Acceptance, www.piecesofme.org.