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Mindfulness


A quality I have grown to have more and more respect for over the last decade is essentially anti-cultural at this point: mindfulness. If you can exist in a perpetually mindful state, then you have successfully rebelled against modern America. But I challenge you to test your rebel skills in that area! You will live longer and enjoy every moment of your life if you succeed! Mindfulness is about being “mindful” versus having your “mind full” of clutter. It’s about living in every moment, fully present and aware. It’s about ridding your mind and life of distractions and instead giving your full attention to each thing (or being) before you.

In a culture that nearly demands constant smart-phone monitoring, social media updates minute by minute, instant text message and email responses, and 60-hour average work weeks just to financially survive…. being mindful is a foreign and impossible concept. Society, in fact, programs us from a young age to be continually distracted and mindless in how we conduct ourselves. Infants are iPad-savvy and Kindergartener’s start school with the latest smart phone in tow. Elementary-age kids know more about computers than my generation, and no one gives undivided attention to anything. We shove food down our throats while checking our text messages and simultaneously navigating a four-lane highway while only glancing occasionally over the steering wheel at oncoming traffic. (sound horrifyingly familiar??) While having a nice dinner out with friends we pay more attention to our smart phone and the television on the wall than we do the conversation or our food. Our anxiety levels are at an all-time high, along with our indigestion. Ever wonder why that is?

We have more demands on us than ever before. We live in an instant-gratification society. We are to be available to all people 24 hours a day, work 40+ hours, be the PTO parent of the year, cook a five-star meal (complete with social media photos of said meal), smile through it all, and answer all email, text, and social media messages within seconds. Who is getting our attention when we spend so much energy striving to meet these expectations? NO ONE! We give partial attention to a million things, but our full attention to nothing. That is “mindlessness.” Mindfulness, on the contrary, is tuning out the television (or turning it off), setting our phones down, ignoring our emails, and giving our full undivided attention to our children at dinner as they regale us with the adventures of their day. Mindfulness is noticing the sunlight shining off the droplets of dew on the individual blades of grass as we walk from our car to the office. It’s “taking time to smell the roses.” Literally. It’s really taking time to taste and savor each bite of food on our lunchbreak, rather than wolfing it down as we work. It’s taking deep breaths and focusing on the present rather than the past or the future.

Mindfulness could become a way of life, one small step at a time. Imagine enjoying the little things again. Imagine not being stressed by the demands of life but giving yourself permission to relax and just focus on one thing at a time. Imagine richer connections with those you love because their needs are being met, and so are yours. Imagine open communication because no one is half-listening due to scrolling Facebook feeds simultaneously. Imagine decreased anxiety, decreased depression, true inner peace, and increased enjoyment. What’s not to love, right? Try it, you’ll like it! 😊


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