On Mindfulness


Mindfulness. Meditation. These words have become ubiquitous with the wellness movement and I'm cringing even typing them (along with "wellness movement"). But, once I read the actual definition of mindfulness, I couldn’t ignore how rarely I focused on the present moment. 

Mindfulness: “A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” 

As a planner and a worrier, I’m always thinking about how to plan for what’s next - whether it’s what to cook for dinner or how to prep for my next meeting. There are benefits to this, like always remembering my friends’ and family members’ birthdays, for example, and generally feeling prepared at work. And don’t get me started on being a worrier. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been up at night thinking about how I could have said something different to a friend, or approached a project differently in hindsight. 

Needless to say, I’m rarely “in the moment,” which is why I’m currently taking a course at UCSF’s Osher Center called Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The course introduces you to mindfulness practice in the form of sitting meditation, body awareness and mindful movement. So far so good (although squeezing in the daily meditation has been a struggle) but I will report back at the end.