Nursing, College of
Mindfulness; Meditation; Awareness
Mindfulness is defined as an active, open state of mind that is focused on the present moment. By maintaining awareness moment by moment, without judgment, we can develop a greater sense of emotional balance and well-being. We live in a fast paced society and often run on autopilot. We find ourselves focusing on the past or the future and as a result we miss what is happening right now. The mind can be compared to a monkey in the forest. The monkey constantly swings from branch to branch; similar to how our mind constantly goes from one thought to another. This then, causes a variety of stimuli to flow through the brain at once, increasing the neuronal activity, and therefore increasing stress and anxiety. One may ask how do we calm this monkey down? Preliminary research suggests that mindfulness practice affects changes in various parts of the brain that improve physical and psychological well-being. Mindfulness meditation transforms our brain just as exercise transforms our body. By having a consistent meditation practice, the brain becomes stronger and healthier. With a strong and healthy brain, the mind is better able to adapt to any stimulus that comes its way, whether it is stress, anxiety, or fear.
Our society today is constantly doing things on the go; many people get caught up in the constant cycle of worry and find it hard to break free. Mindfulness meditation allows you to become present in a natural way. A consistent practice will leave you no choice but to dive into your own personal thought processes. As your practice becomes stronger, you learn how to become the witness to the constant and sometimes crazy thoughts that go through your head. By being the witness, you are able to make the choice on how you respond to negative stimuli, rather than automatically reacting in an uncontrollable and stressful way. Being mindful can be applied to any aspect of your life including driving, eating, cleaning, and studying. A consistent meditation practice can help you get through any stressful situation or help to conquer your biggest fears. For me, it helped me conquer my fear of public speaking, what do you think it will do for you?