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Women Living Well - Spring 2005
Student Papers
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Mindfulness: Better Choices for Our Lives

Jackney Prioly

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

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