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Women Living Well Forum

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Balance in Our Everyday Lives
Name: Ambika Chi
Date: 2005-04-29 11:48:23
Link to this Comment: 14959


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Balance is an important aspect in our everyday lives. In some point of our life, everyone wants to achieve balance. Balance helps facilitate our busy everyday lives. However, I feel that it is impossible to have complete or perfect balance. Balance is stability, from managing time correctly to eating healthy to being mindful in one's thinking. Each of these themes corresponds with one another in relation to defining and creating a balanced life.
Mimi Murray, the Bryn Mawr and Haverford's Bi-College Nutritionist, spoke on mindful eating. She discussed that the foods that we choose to eat affect our everyday lives. Mimi stated that what we eat could help one achieve balance in their life. For example, she stressed the importance of eating breakfast, for if one does not eat breakfast, it can ruin the balance of their lives. We need nutrition, carbohydrates, fats and proteins in order to function in our lives. Functioning properly, from thinking to taking care of our bodies, all play a defining role in balance.
Marc Schultz, a psychology professor at Bryn Mawr, spoke of the relationship of Mindfulness and Brooding. He urged us to be mindful rather than brooding, for if we analyze too much of something, we will be capable of losing balance. Being mindful is crucial to balance, for if we prioritize ourselves, we will be capable of achieving balance easily.
In addition, Glenn Smith, head of Bryn Mawr College facilities, mentioned the importance of time management. He urged the audience to prioritize and rank tasks by importance. For example, if one wants to earn a better grade in school, they will prioritize their time accordingly: they would probably spend less time socializing with their friends and at dinner, and spend the majority of their time studying. Using these prioritizing methods will help one achieve their own degree of balance accordingly. These time management techniques also help one easily manage their time in order to achieve their own degree of balance. His lecture ties into Marc and Mimi's lecture, for one should to be mindful in the time they spend doing an action.
Finally, Matt Brzycki, the Coordinator Stephens Fitness Center in Princeton University spoke of a balanced workout. He said that one does not necessarily achieve their full potential of exercise by doing the same exercise everyday, for example riding the treadmill at the gym daily for an hour. We can be prone to the same cycle and thus, our workout can be in effective. Matt urged everyone to be mindful when working out. We should be aware of our balance and self-management. If you are not able to work out for your usual thirty minutes but only fifteen; then work out for the fifteen to the fullest potential that you are capable.
Nonetheless, I believe that it is impossible to achieve perfect balance. However, there are many ways to help facilitate our lives and achieve a degree of balance that you feel comfortable. Time management, reflecting, eating right and working out enable one to achieve balance more easily. Time management helps one prioritize their schedule, while being mindful makes one look at the whole picture. Mindful is about being observant about your surroundings and aware of what is going on around you. Being mindful is crucial for your health for it makes you look at things in a different perspective. For example, if you were too brooding, you would always be depressed and look at the downside of things; however, a mindful person looks around the surroundings and sees the positive aspect of something. Mind, body and wellness play an important aspect in our everyday lives. It is important that we all try to find some balance within our lives, it does not necessarily have to be perfect, but I sense that it is essential to achieving a healthier life. Nevertheless, it is important to find that connection in order to achieve a more balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Balance: What role does it play in living well?
Name: Jesenia Ge
Date: 2005-04-29 11:52:33
Link to this Comment: 14964


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Reflecting on all of the speakers and the topics they presented to the class, they all
have the common goal of creating and maintaining a more balanced life style. In order to
successfully obtain and sustain a healthy life style, all four of the topics discussed need to be actively engaged in by the participant. These four topics are intertwined in such a matter that they can and should be done simultaneously for the most part. For example, mindfulness is an aspect of balance that should become a part of every activity we engage in on a daily basis. Therefore, if a healthy routine is established and monitored, balance will be achieved.

The first topic introduced is the idea of mindfulness versus brooding. Mindfulness is the idea of thinking in a nonjudgmental fashion about any topic. Brooding is a much
more negative version of mindfulness in which we are extremely judgmental of others
and ourselves. This is such a simple phenomenon yet one that is immensely difficult to
actively engage in. During the presentation we were asked to practice being
nonjudgmental by listening to the person next to us. One of the students made the point
that in her quest to be nonjudgmental she was too focused on whether or not she was
being judgmental. This example helps to illustrate how difficult it is to be mindful. In this case she would need to be mindful of being mindful which seems redundant but is
nevertheless true. This aspect of balance is a key component in aiding the process of
achieving and maintaining a balanced life style.

The next issue addressed, time management, is also of great importance to sustain
a balanced life. Time management is another simplistic idea that has real practical issues when implementing it. One concern with time management is that you cannot plan for
everything. However, it is much more beneficial to allot a certain amount of time to
efficiently deal with other issues life may present. By effectively managing your time,
you also decrease the stress and hassle of trying to accomplish everything. Time
management helps you organize and make time for everything you need to do. In
managing your time it is key to be mindful and be honest. If you know that you like to
watch a lot of television, you should not attempt to stop watching television all together. Instead you should grant yourself a set amount of time dedicated to watching television and abide by it.

Common knowledge has taught us that eating well is a major component for a
healthy life style. However, many of us do no develop healthy eating habits becoming
either too obsessed with what we eat or not caring enough about what we eat. When
being mindful of eating, it is not expected that people will fall at either of these extremes; however it is prevalent in our society for this to be a reality. It is essential the members of our society be taught adequately how to be mindful of their eating so that we do not produce a society of people suffering from eating disorders or obesity.

The final topic that was addressed was how to properly exercise and work out at a
level that will produce the most benefits but is still healthy. Using the F.I.T.T.
(Flexibility, Intensity, Type, & Time) model, you can achieve a fulfilling workout that
will produce results without creating unhealthy consequences. Once again, it is important
to be mindful in your workout to determine if you are working out at your appropriate
level of intensity. You do not want to strain yourself but you also do not want your body
to work at a level that it is accustomed to.

To conclude, mindfulness, time management, healthy eating, and fitness are all
essential components in creating and maintaining balance. Although each one
individually has a significant impact, combined they are most effective in achieving

Mindfulness, the Body, and its Environment
Name: Danielle M
Date: 2005-04-29 11:54:42
Link to this Comment: 14966

<mytitle> Women Living Well - Spring 2005 Student Papers On Serendip

As was demonstrated by all four of the speakers in the "Women Living Well" series, mindfulness of ourselves and our actions helps to create a more manageable, peaceful, and satisfying lifestyle, one that rests in a state of well-being. Mark Schulz's lecture on mindfulness and brooding spoke of the importance of our relationship to our environment in determining well-being. Specifically, Professor Schulz proposed that it is how we view and interpret the people and circumstances around us that can profoundly affect our happiness; in other words, wellness, both physical and mental, is dictated not by external influences, but by our reactions to such external forces. Mindfulness therefore stresses the role of individual will, the decision to process frustration calmly, with a sense of the transience of the feeling and of our own capacity to overcome it.

The lecture offered by Glenn Smith on the topic of time management furthered this theme of the power of the individual to manage her environment. Rather than stressing the importance of how we process events, Mr. Smith emphasized the crucial role of the way we approach our decision-making and set our priorities. When we let external factors decide or set our priorities for us, rather than being consciously mindful of how we are relating to our environment, we lose our sense of balance and begin to feel worn by a continual sense of struggle with our daily life. Thus, as with mindfulness, learning to manage our interaction with environmental stimuli is crucial to arriving at a sense of balance, of empowerment rather than victimization. Mr. Smith illustrated this idea with a matrix that served to break down quotidian tasks according to priority and time commitment. One of the primary ways in which we begin to feel controlled by our environment is through a sense of being overwhelmed, without time to organize and consider. Mr. Smith's matrix, however, provides a visual example of what happens when we do process our responsibilities hierarchically: our lives appear manageable, our tasks ordered rather than random, our priorities reinforced rather than scattered and undermined by feelings of powerlessness.

Where Mr. Smith's lecture began to contextualize how mindfulness looks in relation to our daily life and our priorities, Mimi Murray's presentation on mindful eating added the additional dimension of physical health to the concept of mindful living. Where Professor Schulz and Mr. Smith dealt with how we deal abstractly with our environment, Ms. Murray explored our physical relationship with the environment through food. Just as it is essential to reflect on the ways in which we interpret abstract environmental influences on our well-being, it is necessary not to neglect our understanding of our body's physical interactions with the environment in order to arrive at a sense of well-being. Food plays much more than a nutritive role between our body and our environment; it is both a means of manipulating our body's emotional and physical status and of choosing whether to control or be controlled by that environment. When we allow external factors to dominate our choices, influencing when, what, and how much we eat (be it too much or too little), we begin to feel out of balance and to sense our own inability to mediate in the relationship established between our internal needs and desires and external influences. What Ms. Murray proposes is mindfulness in eating, first becoming aware of the external influences that affect our physical drive to eat and then learning to effectively mediate between them, effectively reflecting on and taking responsibility for the decisions we make about food and eating.

Mr. Brzycki's presentation on physical fitness contributed more to the series' consideration of the physical aspects of mindfulness, for not only is eating a key factor in our interaction with the physical environment, but also our body's capacity to physical maneuver through the world. Mr. Brzycki emphasized the importance of being aware of your body's physical state in its interactions with the external world and of how to use this consciousness to improve that relationship. Often we find ourselves feeling helpless not only because of an inability to manage responsibilities or unpleasant events, but because of our inability to manage our own body and its physical state. Mr. Brzycki proposed the acronym "F.I.T.T" as a model of how to arrive at mindfulness and a sense of physical balance: by manipulating the frequency, intensity, time, and type of physical activity we perform we begin to establish a closer relationship to our body and thus a greater understanding and consciousness of how our body relates to our environment. We become responsible for our physicality.

Thus, well-being and balance are achieved through mindfulness of our interpretation of environmental influences, our consciousness of our priorities and fitting allotment of time and energy to them, our ability to mediate between external influences and our physical drives, and finally though our understanding of not only our emotional, but our physical state in the world.



The Points at which They Intersect...
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: 2005-04-29 12:38:11
Link to this Comment: 14977


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Glenn, Mimi, and Matt all talked about balance in the sense that it is ultimately important to be content with one's life and choices that get made about how to live life.
For Glenn, the balance stems from managing time so that everything that needs to occur does so, with time left for just for fun activities. Mimi talked about balance from the perspective of food and how she likes to discourage thinking about foods in terms of whether they are "good" or "bad." Instead, it is important for an individual to eat a variety of foods, 10% of which can be "fun." Matt discussed balance from the perspective of being fit. He indicated that it was undesirable for an individual to have a workout plan that she does not enjoy. It is similarly undesirable for a person to have a workout plan that is the same every time because then it is not challenging and therefore is not as effective as it could be.

Glenn and Mimi both talked about the importance of having space for fun. For Glenn, this notion asserts itself in the form of reading a novel that is not for a class or by enjoying the afternoon by lying outside on a blanket. These activities can occur because time was managed sufficiently well so that everything that needs to be done is finished. While the individual is sunbathing, she can be consuming a popsicle because Amy indicated that we should not stress about what we eat because 10% of the food can have effectively no nutritional value. That is acceptable as long as the unhealthy food is something that the individual enjoys.

Glenn and Matt overlap because if an individual manages her time well, she can have time for exercise. Physical fitness contributes to a balanced life, but it also provides a way to have fun. It can be in the form of participating as part of an athletic team. However, it can also be in the form of spontaneously going for a run through softly falling rain. For exercise, it is important to maintain consistency by working out three to five times a week. Less than that will not be effective and working out every day will provide negligible benefits above the ones that are gained from exercising three to five times a week.

Matt and Mimi both talk about enjoyment in terms of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight. For Matt, this meant going the same distance at a faster rate or going the same rate for a longer period of time. Doing so allows a person to burn more calories and thus to maintain a state of fitness. However, it is important that a person establishes being fit before she attempts to make her workout plan more difficult. What Mimi said contributes because she talked about the approximate amount of calories we should consume and how we can lose weight by eating slightly less while continuing to remain active.

All three speakers are important in contributing to a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle, yet none of them are sufficient on their own. A person can manage her time well, but neglect to ever exercise or eat healthy food. Similarly, she can do any of the three things well while failing at the other two. This would result in a lifestyle that is neither healthy nor balanced.

Mindfulness: Better Choices for Our Lives
Name: Jackney Pr
Date: 2005-04-29 12:42:46
Link to this Comment: 14979


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How do mindfulness and an awareness of all we do help to foster an attitude and lifestyle that support well-being?

Mindfulness and awareness are necessary to fostering positive attitudes in our lives toward our health, mentally and physically. More specifically, mindfulness is "focusing one's attention in an non-judgmental or accepting way on the experience occurring in the present moment."(1) We must adapt mindfulness into our everyday routines. It is not just about being mindful and aware of certain situations when they come up, but always being able to be mindful and be able to step back from the situation and instead of brooding about it, which could lead into depression, instead, think about it objectively. Sometimes we may find that we have to take some time out and then return with a calm and focused mind in order to deal with or solve the situation.
Connecting mindfulness with our physical health is helpful as well. We realize that we have to keep our bodies in sync with our mind. If one is off balance, both are not working at optimum capacity. Being mindful of what we eat is not hard, but recognizing the change and actually making it are two different subjects for most people. So our awareness must be that we want to be healthy people and to do this we must realize that what we put into our bodies has an affect on us physically and mentally. When we are aware of this and have reflected we recognize that we must take care of ourselves and watch what we put into our bodies.
Another aspect of connecting mindfulness to our physical health is getting enough exercise. We want our bodies to perform to the best of their abilities, but this will not happen with only eating correctly. We have to make a deliberate, mindful decision to get into and stay in shape. Stretching, cardiovascular workouts, and strength training will help us to keep ourselves healthy. When we exercise we feel better and this also helps to clear our minds, by letting off some stress. Too much stress only clouds our minds and makes it hard to be mindful and aware. Exercising can help us keep ourselves, mind and body, at a good balance.
This question of balance is one that we attempted to deal with in the beginning of this physical education course. We have learned that it is not easy to balance our lives, but we can try and be mindful and aware of the fact that we can not always have complete balance in our lives. It is impossible and would stress us out even more if we attempted to maintain balanced every single day. What we want to do is to be able to be mindful of the fact that we can never achieve complete balance, but that we should try to balance those things in our lives that we do have control over such as our exercise habits, diets and attitudes. Mindfulness will help foster an attitude and lifestyle that support well-being if we are aware. When we are mindful, we are reflective and we check in with ourselves instead of letting feelings of urgency or distress dictate our actions. We realize when we need to step up our workout routines or start one. Mindfulness will help us establish a positive lifestyle and attitude when we are open to it and realize that we must put it into action. We shape our lives and through reflection we can have a better sense of what we want out of our lives and how we will attain and maintain it. Reflecting upon ourselves without brooding will help us make better choices about our health, our relationships, our bodies, and our lives.
(1) Taken from the link on Awareness and Mindfulness

Name: Dijana Sar
Date: 2005-04-29 13:53:47
Link to this Comment: 14981


Women Living Well - Spring 2005
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D. Saržinski
Women Living Well
April 29, 2005


Throughout this course on women living well, all of the speakers talked about the importance of balance. They all said that the balance is one of the main factors for a good life. When combined, balance in thinking, time management, eating, and exercising is crucial in the formation of a healthy and content personality.

Mark Shultz talked about the balance between mindfulness and reflection, and how the achievement of this balance helps us lead the less stressful life. Being mindful is being aware of your present moment without judging, reflecting or thinking about it more than necessary. It is simply observing the moment in which you find yourself and taking it all in. Mindfulness is beneficial for one's wellbeing in a way that it helps us focus on "right now" and "right here". I would also argue that some brooding is good because it is in human nature to process and fuss about things. Achieving balance between these two is important because it provides for a realistic view of "right now" and "right here".

Glen Smith talked about tie management, which in itself is a balance between more and less important tasks. Without that balance, we would spend more time on unimportant activities and would not be able to focus on more important ones. Glen stressed categorization of activities and their grouping into a grid, sorted by the relevance and priority. Balance between relevant and less relevant things is important because it provides for completion of relevant tasks, while leaving time for play.

Mimi Murray talked about nutrition and its proper balance. The food pyramid can serve as a guideline, but the ratio of things on the pyramid varies from person to person. It is then important for each individual to find their nutritional balance, making sure that the intake of all the nutrients important for a normal and healthy life is covered. The balance between carbohydrates and proteins, fats, sugars, and milk products, vitamins and minerals, is crucial for good health and good living.

Finally, Matt Brzycki talked about the balance between fitness and aerobics, exercise and stretching, as well as the balance between frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise. Finding the balance between these factors enables us to get the maximum out of the workout, consequently making our body stronger and our lives better and healthier.

In conclusion, the most important thing is to balance all the abovementioned aspects of life. One should be mindful, eat healthy, work out responsibly, and prioritize according to their life-style. The balance of these activities makes a person less stressed and more healthy and happy.

Women Living Well: Balance
Name: Cara Pasqu
Date: 2005-04-29 14:00:43
Link to this Comment: 14982


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A balanced life is hard to achieve, probably impossible. There are, however, many things we can do in our life to help attain balance in certain aspects of our life. There are always going to be things out of our control, but we have the ability to achieve balance in some parts of our life to counteract the crazy things going on. The four speakers each focused on different aspects of our lives and how to accomplish balance within that part of our life. When one puts all of the advice from the different speakers together it gives a total picture of health and how to achieve a somewhat balanced life.

The first speaker was, Marc Schultz of the Psychology Department at Bryn Mawr. His lecture focused on mindfulness, reflecting and brooding. There was also a section on meditation in order to clear ones mind and relax. The content of this lecture discussed how to balance your mind and reflect on ones life in a constructive way that that does not lead to brooding. It is important to relax and take time for yourself and analyze your life. It must be done, however, in a way that is constructive and not self-defeating. We need to look at our lives and take responsibility. Meditating is a way to clear your mind, and decrease your stress level, so your mood wont become so negative or out of control. In order to live a healthy life, we need to take care of our minds. It is important to look at our methods of reflection and how we react in our minds because our mental state effects our entire life.

The second speaker was Glenn Smith, the Director of Facilities at Bryn Mawr College. His lecture focused on time management and making time for what is most important. He reminded us that we cannot do everything, and that we need to do what is most important first and then do all those other little things. This relates to balance because if we try to do everything, our lives will be crazy. We need to weigh what is important and what we can sacrifice. This time management relates to Marc Schultz lecture because while managing time it is important to make room for yourself, a time where you can reflect. Time management is an essential part of achieving balance. If we do not manage our time, then our lives will be a mess and create massive amounts of stress.

The third speaker was Mimi Murray, the Bryn Mawr and Haverford College Nutritionist. Her lecture was concerned with eating well and how that leads to a healthy and balanced life. Eating well is very important because getting the proper nutrients for the day helps keep our mind alert and gives us energy to deal with life. If you do not eat right, your energy will be low and you might start to feel bad about yourself. Eating a balanced diet helps make you feel better, and improves other aspects of your life.

The fourth speaker was Matt Brzycki, Coordinator of Stephens Fitness Center at Princeton University. He talked about the importance of fitness. He also broke it down into three categories, strength, aerobic and flexibility. All of these parts of exercise are important because you can be strong in one but weak in another. To promote overall health it is important to focus on all areas to achieve balance within your body. Also, exercising does not only help your body physically, but it helps your mental state too. Fitness is another essential part of the puzzle to living well. You do not need to exercise for an hour in the gym everyday, but just make sure you are active and pay attention to all the areas of your body.

All four of these speakers taught us something about balance. When you put all of their advice together, it is evident that balance is not just having one aspect of your life in order, but taking care of all the elements in your life. It might not be possible to have all aspects of your life in balance, but it is possible to attain a state near balance. Paying attention to the four aspects that these speakers discussed is an important step to understanding how your body can achieve balance.

Achieving Balance
Name: Jackie Che
Date: 2005-04-29 14:21:15
Link to this Comment: 14985


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Achieving and maintaining balance as an undergraduate student is incredibly difficult. We have to juggle schoolwork, clubs, friends, volunteer work, part-time jobs, and so much more. I for one, enjoy being busy and having a lot of different things going on in my life. However, it is difficult to avoid "biting off more than you can chew." With only four years to experience college life, we all like to cram in as much as we can to get as much out of the experience as possible. The speakers in the Women Living Well series all gave very good suggestions for maintaining balance in order to have an enjoyable and healthy college experience.

In the first lecture, "Mindfulness, Reflecting, and Brooding: Links to Well-being and Distress," Marc Shultz, a Bryn Mawr professor of Psychology discussed methods of being "mindful," and also discussed the differences between reflecting and brooding. Marc discussed the ways in which brooding is unconstructive in that it is basically sulking and thinking only negatively about something. Reflection, on the other hand is healthy in that it can help to achieve balance. Reflection involves thinking about a possibly negative thing in a constructive manner. In reflection, it is okay to have negative thoughts, but it is important not to dwell on only the negative aspects. It is helpful to think of positive things that may have come from a negative. This helps us to achieve balance because we are able to evenly an rationally reflect on aspects of our lives and not allow ourselves to get sucked into the negatives. Marc also discussed mindfulness. Being mindful also contributes to balance in life because it is about being aware of oneself. In being mindful, we should recognize the emotions we have and things that we are experiencing, but not allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by them.

In the second lecture, "Don't let good get the better of best--making time for what's most important," Glenn Smith discussed self-management. He told us that we cannot manage time, but we can manage ourselves, and that we have many important choices to make in managing our schedules. Glenn discussed the fact that the choices we make will affect oru future, and thus we must make them carefully. We learned useful tools to be used to set priorities and to make sure that we could make time for what is most important to us as individuals. This lecture was extremely helpful in teaching us ways to achieve and maintain balanced lives. It showed us the importance in setting priorities so that we can accomplish what is important because it is not realistic to believe that we will be able to accomplish everything. This is critical in maintaining a balanced life because to achieve balance, we have to decide what is most important to us.
In the third lecture, "Eat Well Bryn Mawr," Mimi Murray discussed the importance of good nutrition. She taught us about the benefits of eating certain foods, and the importance of eating a balanced diet. This is very important to achieving balance in life because without good nutrition, we do not have the energy of mindset to accomplish what we would like.

In the fourth lecture, "Get FITT Bryn Mawr," Matt discussed the three components of fitness: Flexibility, Aerobics, and Weight-training. He also discussed Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type, or "FITT." In his talk, he mentioned that it is not necessary to devote an incredible amount of time to workout. He told us that a fifteen minute workout can be as effective as an hour-long workout. What is important is the intensity of the workout. This is very helpful in our attempts to achieve balance in life, because fitness is such an important element. Excercize helps us sleep well, gives us energy, and just generally keeps us healthier. Most think that we do not have enough time to workout, and therefore skip fitness altogether. Marc showed us that with even just a small amount of time, we can stay fit.

I greatly enjoyed the lectures in this series and found them all extremely helpful in achieving balance in my life. I will definitely carry these techniques with me for use after graduation.

Getting The Most Enjoyment Out of Life: Mindfulnes
Name: Camilla Cu
Date: 2005-04-29 14:57:29
Link to this Comment: 14987


Women Living Well - Spring 2005
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Mindfulness can be defined as being consciously aware of your actions, living in the moment without extraneous thoughts or distractions, and engaging in positive, reflective thought patterns. Because we live in an era where life is fast-paced and technology is geared towards making work and travel more efficient, it is often difficult to find the time to take a deep breath and relax. Television, cell phones, the Internet, and palm pilots, though they do help us stay connected to the world in which we live, also serve as a time consuming intrusion and distraction. In our society multi-tasking is viewed as essential. Since we are juggling so many different balls at once, we lose the ability to identify the things that are most important in our lives, and to easily set priorities. We neglect our loved ones, and we start to simply go through the motions of living.

However, many of the people who live a frenzied lifestyle are missing out on the joy of attending to detail and really relishing and enjoying life. Rather than living in the moment some people are always looking towards what is next on the agenda. Being mindful can not only help you to be more relaxed and less stressed physically and emotionally, but it can also allow you to have a deeper sense of satisfaction, to be more contemplative, and to fully appreciate life.

Primarily, mindfulness can be used as a tool to alleviate stress and anxiety. Meditation, when the mind is cleared of all thoughts, combined with deep breathing is a way to give your body and your mind a much-needed rest. In class during Mark Schultz's lecture(1), we practiced a short meditation with our eyes closed. Also, Mark's student spoke about how whenever she feels nervous on her walk over to Mark's office; she concentrates on feeling the ground under her feet and the sunlight on her face. By immersing oneself in the moment, the worries and fears of the present, seem to dissipate and what is left is a feeling of calmness and wholeness. By diminishing the thoughts that are triggering the stress reaction, emotional and physical health will be greatly improved. Also, the immune system will be strengthened and energy levels will increase.

Besides affecting our stress levels directly, mindfulness can also be used as a tool to help maintain healthy exercise levels and to promote good eating habits. Matt Brzycki talked about knowing your body's limits during exercise, and being aware of the signals that your body is sending you to either stop working out or increase your intensity. Also, Mimi Murray discussed how important it is to do a fullness check every once in a while, to see if it is necessary to continue to eat. She explained that we often continue to polish off our food after we have reached the point of satisfaction. By putting down our fork and routinely checking on our hunger status, we will be able to eat to the point of satisfaction rather than to the point of feeling sick. By being aware of our body and our fullness levels when we eat, we can begin to modulate food intake. By being mindful of the experience of eating itself, we can enjoy and savor the tastes and textures of the food, rather than simply gulping it down. This type of conscious awareness regarding the foods we choose to consume can lead to healthy choices and decisions that will support nutrition and physical health.

Finally, mindfulness and awareness are important for the general enjoyment of life. Glenn talked about how it is necessary to be aware of the time you spend in different arenas of life, such as work and family. He explained that one must make sure not to neglect things that are important or to spend too much time on busy work such as phone calls and e-mails. Prioritizing is key, because it helps to achieve balance and stability, and to manage time efficiently. It is important to be aware how you expend your energy. Once you are able to balance your time well, you will be able to do the activities that you love and that make you happy, without sacrificing too much of your life a s a whole, such as job and family.

The combination of alleviating stressful thoughts, eating nutritiously, exercising until you have reached your own specific physical limits, and managing time, all contribute to a persons overall emotional and physical well-being. By placing the emphasis on self-awareness and mindfulness one can have the ability to reach full potential in life and to enjoy every minute of it.


1)Women Living Well Spring 2005, our class website with a link to Mark Schultz's lecture

Women Living Well
Name: Julia Cocc
Date: 2005-04-29 15:42:58
Link to this Comment: 14989


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All of the speakers which we heard over this quarter emphasized the need to have balance in everything we do in our lives. Glenn Smith very appropriately displayed the chaos of our everyday lives with his clip from Jerry Maguire. We are forced to meet deadlines, attend meetings, etc. all the time, and often it is very difficult to pay attention to ourselves. However, if we are to severely neglect one aspect of our physical or mental health, it affects our entire well-being. Therefore, it is necessary that we remain mindful and aware of our health in order to have a more positive attitude towards life.

We learned from the speakers that just exercise or just proper nutrition is not enough to have a properly well-balanced life. In order for us to attain balance, or what one defines as such, one needs to be aware of their entire body and the needs it conveys. Therefore, if we follow the direction of this course, we need to be mindful, manage time wisely, have a healthy diet, and exercise the entire body to its fullest capacity. It is a combination of all of these factors which contribute to a better overall way of life.

The status of our health is like a domino effect, everything is inter-related and in order for our bodies to work properly, everything must be in place. We must be mindful of our lives and not brood over trivial things. This then leads to less getting accomplished because we spend so much time brooding rather than being active. As Glenn Smith explained, there are only 24 hours in a day and we must utilize them wisely. One of the most important things we must remember to be mindful of everyday is our nutrition. Without proper nutrition we are not able to accomplish tasks to the best of our ability. Lastly, we must not forget to exercise our bodies, to the fullest extent, because this benefits both our minds and our bodies. Here it is clear to see how deeply all of these factors rely on one another.

Balance and well-being are individual and therefore they must be attained on an individual basis. However, we can all strive to be in better mental and physical help by utilizing the guidelines stated above. It is amazing to see how much more positive one's outlook on life can improve when they are more mindful and in better physical health. It is important to take the time to think about ourselves, rather than always answering to someone else. Additionally, if one does not put themselves as their first priority, they will not be able to serve others to their fullest capacity. Therefore, it is very important that we remain mindful and aware of our health, both physically and mentally, so that we may be more active and positive people.

Balance at Bryn Mawr
Name: Bareara Su
Date: 2005-04-29 16:52:08
Link to this Comment: 14994


Women Living Well - Spring 2005
Student Papers
On Serendip

Question #1: Balance is an important part of 'living well'. Discuss how the four speakers¡¯ topics and content related to defining and creating a balanced life.

Balance is the ephemeral feeling towards which all college students strive. At Bryn Mawr College, it seems especially difficult to achieve, and even harder to maintain. With over a hundred clubs on campus, innumerable sports and activities, community service, internships, jobs, and carrying a full course load, even finding time to think about balance in our lives seems to fall to the back burners. Time for one¡¯s self, for one¡¯s friends, and for relaxation is inevitably cut short. There are, however, several methods we can use to curb this trend towards self-neglect in the face of our overwhelming number of commitments. Using techniques of reflection, time-management, eating healthily and consciously, and working out, we can better maintain our minds and bodies in order to more effectively continue to strive for balance.

Our first speaker, Marc Schultz presented a very cerebral approach to maintaining balance. His topic was ¡°Mindfulness, Reflecting, and Brooding: Links to Well-Being and Distress.¡± He suggested that there is a significant difference between being mindful and reflective of a problem, and brooding on it. Brooding only leads to negative emotions and an inability to problem-solve; it causes the problem to become heavier, and the individual to see fewer ways of overcoming it. Alternately, being mindful of a problem allows for active problem-solving, but also the ability to compartmentalize. If one can separate and isolate a defined problem through being mindful, and then actively reflect on that issue, as opposed to brooding and allowing it to take control, mental balance is much easier to obtain. Marc suggested meditation as a good way to go about beginning this shift towards mindfulness. In taking a few minutes out of everyday to consciously relax and be mindful of one¡¯s mindset, it makes brooding less likely to occur.

Glenn Smith, our second speaker, tied in very well with the topics initiated by Marc. Glenn¡¯s topic was ¡°Don¡¯t let good get the better of best¡ªmaking time for what is most important.¡± His lecture was, I think, perhaps the most useful for the typical Bryn Mawr student. He focused on time-management skills, and how to identify the ways in which we use our time, and how we can revise that thinking to better direct our most valuable resources. He suggested a couple skills that seem to be very effective. The first is developing a weekly schedule so as to better plan out one¡¯s time, leaving space for relaxation as well as academic work and activities. The second is to identify each activity within a grid of importance and pertinence. After determining if an activity is a time-filler and method of procrastination, whether it is actually important to do now, or whether you can plan ahead to accommodate the activity has become a very useful way for me to think about my time-management.

Mimi Murray, our third speaker, seamlessly shifted to focus from mental health and organization to physical health with her lecture titled, ¡°Eat Well Bryn Mawr.¡± She talked about the food pyramid, rejected a lot of the outdated ways of thinking about food and being hungry, discussed dieting and the healthy ways in which to maintain one¡¯s weight. Most importantly, she talked about the importance of being conscious when eating, and not just consuming for the sake of consuming without paying attention to what one¡¯s body is saying about what it needs and when it is satiated. She highlighted the fact that there is no evil food, and that, without a balanced diet (including exercise), the body feels deprived and undernourished. To demonstrate this fact, she had us partake in a straw diet, which aptly proved what happens when you deprive your body of elements that it needs, and the binge effect that follows. Her suggestions about healthy and mindful eating have been very useful to me as I make my dietary decisions each day in the dining hall.

Finally, our last speaker, Matt Brzycki, delivered a speech titled, ¡°Get FITT Bryn Mawr.¡± He focused on the ways in which we can maintain healthy bodies by engaging in healthy and mindful work outs. He presented the acronym FITT to remind us of the four major considerations to remember when beginning a work out routine: Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type. Therefore, when we are planning our flexibility, fitness, and aerobic routines, we can use variation and mindfulness to challenge our bodies.

The individual topics presented by the speakers tied well into the overall themes and goals of the class. Through the evolution of topics and the breadth of coverage concerning both mental and physical health, we now have an arsenal of methodology to seeking, finding, and maintaining balance within the rigorous and challenging Bryn Mawr College atmosphere.

Mindfulness and a Healthy Life
Name: Heather Si
Date: 2005-04-30 15:42:20
Link to this Comment: 15001


Women Living Well - Spring 2005
Student Papers
On Serendip

Mindfulness and a Healthy Life
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that you can do anywhere, anytime. It involves paying attention to the way your body feels, (like the feeling of your breath entering and leaving your lungs), to the sensations you perceive from the external environment, and to your own thoughts and emotions. You maintain an objective awareness of these things, which allows you to evaluate the present situation effectively. When you are being mindful, you are noticing your thoughts without touching them, meaning you don't allow yourself to become entangled in them.
This meditative practice promotes well-being in many ways. Keeping you in the moment makes sure that you don't miss anything, and it helps you to appreciate the small pleasures in life, like the feeling of walking on a soft carpet, or the sound of a bird singing. Usually people are too wrapped up in their own thoughts to notice these things.
Mindfulness helps you to get things done faster, because you are not letting yourself be distracted by worries and sidetracking thoughts. If it is a physical task especially, mindfulness makes you more effective since you are aware of what you are doing.
Also, mindfulness helps you to be aware of your body's needs, like noticing when you are tired, or when you are thirsty, or noticing how certain foods make your body feel. Responding to your body's messages helps keep your body healthy. Mindfulness also decreases stress level, since you are noticing your thoughts and not letting them get to you, and noticing more of the outside world. You are less stuck in your head, which makes you less anxious about things.
Mindfulness also helps you to objectively evaluate situations, which will not leave room for pessimistic assumptions that could cause additional stress. This is why mindfulness is particularly helpful for people with a tendency towards depression or extreme anxiety. It stops these people's automatic negative appraisals of situations, or at least gets them to notice them so they can objectively evaluate them and realize that they are being irrational. And everyone's evaluations of situations are clearer and easier to do since they are not clouded with emotional enmeshment.
So in other words, mindfulness helps you to have a healthier body and a healthier mind, which are the ingredients of well-being. And if you practice mindfulness throughout your lifetime, you will be able to look back on your life knowing that you were really there with all your faculties for every moment of it, not caught up in worries about things that really don't matter in the long run anyway. Mindfulness is a necessary part of a truly healthy and fruitful life.

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Very interesting. Thanks for the incite.

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