1 : the quality or state of being mindful
2 : the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complex awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a on a moment-to-moment basis; also : such a state of awareness
Humanly, we rush through life. When living fast-paced, it can sometimes seem as though the pace just keeps quickening, only slowing when havoc forces it to. We rush to get out of the house in the morning, rush to work, or class, rush throughout the day because we just want it to be over, rush throughout the week because the weekend sounds better and better as it gets closer. We rush.
Meals are rushed because people no longer know how to sit down and have a conversation over dinner. Classwork is rushed because, why figure the answers out when they are already published online? We rush the drive, because accidents don’t happen to everybody. We rush our speech, because our thoughts are moving too fast to not blurt out three sentences at once. We rush.
Mindfulness is unattainable if there is no time left for awareness of our own body and our surroundings. Mindfulness is unattainable if we don’t pace ourselves. It’s arguable that mindfulness coincides with wellness. Wellness is a trifecta of healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy spirit. Wellness is also a product of mindfulness.
Implementing a certain level of awareness throughout the course of the day is a challenge. How many people see food in front of them and just reach for it, without thinking? You’d be surprised. Dieting is a hoax in the sense that a great number of them fail. Traci Mann, a philosophy professor at the University of Minnesota, published “Secrets from the Eating Lab” after 20 years of diet research. She attributes the failure of dieting to three biological changes: neurological change, hormonal change, and metabolic change. Her research concludes that people tend to become more aware of food while dieting. The body’s hormones that make you feel full decrease during diets, while hormones that make you feel hungrier increase. Lastly, metabolism slows down, so your body does not burn through as many calories as it would if running efficiently. Eating mindfully, to fuel the body as it needs to be fueled, is the natural way to maintain a healthy weight.
For some reason, it always seems as though people forget about spring break until the middle of February, and all of a sudden someone has ‘X’ amount of weight to lose in five weeks. Long, intense workouts seem to be the only way to make up for 47 weeks of lost time. Using that sort of warped logic, maybe this is true. However, the body needs to acclimate to lifting heavy weights, flexibility, and intense cardio. Again, things might feel a little rushed. It is enough to be aware of your body’s currently limitations and build past those limitations a week at a time. This also helps prevent the “burn-out” effect that so many of us succumb to. Rest when your body needs rest, then push your body to that next benchmark. Ultimately, it’s about creating a healthy lifestyle.
Being mindful of limitations goes beyond the walls of a gym. People are always faced with limitations. They are not impossible to overcome, just maybe don’t overcome everything at once. When one is mindful of their limitations, they are assessing what they are capable of, and ideally they then start idealizing how they can become capable of much more. Take a cue from Mean Girls’ Cady, the limit really does not exist.
When faced with injury, an athlete realizes their level of competition is not what it was moments before the injury. They now have limited mobility; however, most athletes do not sit there and decide their career is over. They become mindful of what their limitations are and devise a plan for rehabilitation in order to compete again.
Mindfulness spans across most facets of life. It allows for people to enjoy the moment, appreciate themselves, and achieve their goals. When rushing through life, we are stuck with a lot of shoulda-woulda-couldas, and sometimes regret. Live your life, according to you.