When was the last time you took a bath or a shower without feeling pressured to get your day started? The next time you take a shower (or bath) practice being mindful. Stop for a moment and smell the shampoo. Feel the water on your skin and the changes in temperature. Taste the humidity rising from the water. Listen to the sound of the water. When thoughts about the day wander into your mind, gently set them aside and go back to focusing on each of the senses. With practice you can experience the mundane in more vivid and exciting ways.
Unfortunately, as people get busy living, the mundane passes away without acknowledgement and they fail to remember each day in its entirety. Instead, they remember moments of a day. Memories are built from moments when you were paying attention to what your senses were bringing into consciousness. To tune in and be mindful, stop and pay attention to what the five senses are bringing in and processing. What do you hear at this moment? The hum of your monitor, perhaps some soft music creating a peaceful environment? What do you see, smell, taste, and feel?
Maybe you know people who are aware of every aspect in their environment. They notice the broken pattern in an improperly installed tile floor. Maybe they notice every crack in the sidewalk or pick up on the melody that birds sing. While this tendency toward mindfulness may seem like a characteristic of their personality, mindfulness is not a personality trait. It is, rather, a set of skills and processes individuals may use to enhance coping. Mindfulness begins as daily meditation, but the practice is intended to become a way of life with awareness encouraged in every moment. Mindfulness allows moments of self-awareness and personal growth. Herbert Benson (1976) described mindfulness meditation as mental control to induce the relaxation response and reduce cognitive vulnerability to stress and emotional distress. Stress management techniques frequently employ mindfulness approaches.
Apply the concept of mindfulness to the performance of the activity. Note any differences in stress level while performing the activity with mindfulness and how you felt while performing it in comparison to past instances of completing the activity.
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